A new study has found that there was nearly a 150 per cent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes across major cities in the US in 2020, while overall hate crimes fell by 7 per cent.

The study, titled “Report to the Nation: Anti-Asian Prejudice & Hate Crime”, has been conducted by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE) at the California State University, San Bernardino, Xinhua news agency reported.

Based on police department statistics in 16 cities, it will be released later this month, according to the CSHE, which posted fact sheets about the research on the university’s official website on Thursday.

New York City saw the highest jump, rising from 3 to 28, Boston and Los Angeles followed, with increases from 6 to 14, and 7 to 15 respectively, the report said, noting that the first spike occurred in March-April 2020 amid a rise in Covid-19 cases and negative stereotyping of Asians relating them to the pandemic.

CBS News on Thursday said that the report could not show the overall picture of hate acts happening across the country, since the data cited by the research was limited to crimes reported to local police departments.

More racist attacks aiming at Asians were called as “hate incidents”, which was defined by the Department of Justice as acts of prejudice that are not crimes.

The number of such attacks was also on the rise last year.

More than 2,800 of these hate incidents targeting Asian-Americans had been reported in 47 states and the District of Columbia since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Stop AAPI Hate, a non-profit group formed in 2020.

AAPI refers to Asia- Americans and Pacific Islanders. The AAPI population in the country was estimated at 24.2 million.

“These recent incidents are stark reminders that urgent action must be taken to protect our AAPI community from hate, discrimination and violence.” the group noted on its website, which allows its users to report such incidents.

To fight the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes, the California legislature on February 23 enacted the AB 85 law which includes funding of $1.4 million specifically to support Stop AAPI Hate’s website, analysis and research.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board voted unanimously to approve a motion to immediately identify funding to expand the county’s anti-hate program, “LA vs. Hate”, in an effort to combat hate against the AAPIs.

The Los Angeles metro area contains one of the densest Asian populations in the US, with 11.3 per cent identifying as Asian.

–IANS

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