Today, in response to the massacre of eight people at several spas in the Atlanta metro area, including six women of Asian descent, and the escalating hate crime crisis in this city, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced his plan to expand Operation Safe Shopper, a pioneering program that his office spearheaded to deploy security cameras outside of local businesses that help the New York City Police Department (NYPD) during its investigations of local crimes, to protect at-risk small businesses and individuals in Asian-American communities. Borough President Adams committed $10,000 to the initiative’s immediate expansion, and called on the City Council to expand funding for the program so it can support small business around the city.
“We must be vigilant to watch out for potential copycat attacks against our Asian-American communities in the coming days, and we must do more to defend ‘soft targets’ like massage parlors,” said Borough President Adams. “The massacre of innocent people at massage parlors around the Atlanta area — mostly women of Asian descent — strikes at a real fear so many of us share: being targeted for what you look like. Discrimination is deadly, and we must fight back.”
Through Operation Safe Shopper, participating local civic organizations help to identify storefronts that provide optimal views of street activity for the installation of street-facing security cameras, in consultation with their local police precincts, and agree to purchase the security camera systems. Selected businesses are responsible for the maintenance of their security cameras, as well as their registration with the local police precinct. In the event of a police investigation, businesses make video footage recorded by the security cameras available to the NYPD.
Borough President Adams also renewed his calls from recent weeks to combat the local rise in hate crimes against members of the Asian-American community, including ensuring every district attorney’s office has a robust hate crime unit, making it easier for non-English speaking victims to safely report crimes, and having the NYPD dedicate more resources to its Asian Hate Crimes Task Force. Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 3,800 racist incidents against people of Asian descent have been reported nationally, according to Stop AAPI Hate.
“Our city and nation are facing a crisis of violent hate that has been fueled for months by extremist propaganda both online and over our airwaves, including a former president who insisted on calling COVID-19 the ‘kung flu,’” said Borough President Adams. “As we show support for our Asian-American neighbors, let’s do our part to combat the lies and showcase our commitment to a diverse society.”