Community Group Hands Out Pepper Spray in Chinatown Hoping to Help Combat Crime

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The Chinatown community in San Francisco wants to send a clear message saying they are not backing down from criminals who continue to target them and their businesses.

To do so, a volunteer nonprofit named Community Stream SF walked Chinatown's streets handing out pepper spray with the hope it would help combat crime.

"Just to at least equip the business owners with some form of pepper spray or self defense," said Community Stream SF volunteer Brian Young.

Young takes time out of his nine-to-five job to hand out pepper spray in town, and he met another volunteer who had the same idea.

"It's great to see others doing the same thing," he said.

That strong sense of community has been the glue keeping businesses afloat amid a string of robberies, burglaries and attacks.

Most businesses did not want to speak on camera to NBC Bay Area due to fear of being targeted. Others felt the need to speak up, like David Au.

Au was in the hospital a week ago getting stitches after being hit in the head with a hammer. He got hit while trying to stop a smash-and-grab robbery at a shop next to his.

"I'm fine. No headaches, nothing. Just feel like a bit bruised," he explained. "Again, I'm just lucky."

Au may have been physically injured, but his spirit is intact.

He told NBC Bay Area he's more convinced than ever that Chinatown needs to band together to protect each other.

"Not only this community, but everywhere in the city try the best to stop this kind of nonsense," he said.

San Francisco Police Department officers and ambassadors continue to patrol the streets of Chinatown.

However, they say even with daily patrols to deter crime, they can only do so much.

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