As communities across the Bay Area and around the country continue to report a spike in attacks on Asian Americans, a new foot patrol group is forming to walk the streets of San Francisco's Chinatown.
Actor and activist Will Lex Ham is among those walking the streets with several others.
"What we want to do is to make our elderly feel safe," he said. "There are a lot out and about right now because of the Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year. We just want to make them feel safe."
The group on Thursday handed out whistles and pamphlets.
Group members don't have weapons, but they do offer extra sets of eyes and ears as they try to discourage those looking to harm community members.
"I think it’s a great idea now that there's a campaign here put on to help the elderly in the area," Rebecca Lu, who runs Ming's Hair Studio, said.
Lu will share the group's message with clients. She knows the dangers. She took self defense classes years ago and still wears a whistle.
"I always wear one because I actually moved here years ago and it’s a melting pot but sometimes we are not welcome," she said.
Community coalitions are building quickly. Max Leung with SF Peace Collective, another group watching out for people in the neighborhood, has met up with the foot patrol group.
"I hope that the people out there who think it's OK to rob an Asian merchant or to shove an Asian man walking home, they just stop," Leung said.
There have been more than two dozen attacks and robberies in Oakland and San Francisco recently.
This week, San Francisco Mayor London Breed spoke out about the issue on social media, tweeting, "Our Asian community and our seniors have been the target of a number of horrific attacks here in the Bay Area. This is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated…we'll continue to do everything we can to keep our community safe."
San Francisco police said they will maintain high visibility patrols to help deter crime and to reassure the community. Additional officers will be deployed to places like Chinatown and other areas.