In response to the rising number of attacks on Asians, especially the elderly, citizen patrols roaming the streets have formed in San Francisco, Oakland and now San Jose.
The city’s Japantown is a quiet, tight knit community where crime is a rare occurrence, but community leaders say they know by now that an attack can happen anywhere and they need to be ready.
Following San Francisco and Oakland’s citizen patrols walking its Chinatowns, longtime San Jose police officer Rich Saito is recruiting volunteers who will roam Japantown in red vests to deter potential attackers.
On his group webpage Japantown Prepared, he will begin training anyone interested on Zoom Saturday morning.
“The really important part is the scrutiny, the eyes on the community,” said Saito. “We’re going to be looking for behaviors that basically indicate the person is a predator.
One group especially grateful for the patrols is the Japantown senior center Yu Ai Kai.
“It can give you the proper tools and skills on how to handle the situation and not escalate,” said executive director Jennifer Masuda.
Along with recruiting patrol volunteers, there is another Stop the Hate rally planned Saturday at San Jose City Hall at noon. Then on Sunday, the group that formed the Chinatown patrols United Peace Collaborative, will hold a safety workshop on its Facebook page for the community at-large.
“They’re concerned for their mothers and fathers, their relatives, even ourselves,” said United Peace Collaborative member Leianne Lamb. “You just don’t know who might be a potential victim. So what’s really important is that we empower ourselves.”
The various strategies from citizen patrols to public safety forums will certainly help the community to be more aware and prepared.