What’s Really Behind the Reported Spike in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes?

Asian American leaders and candidates for New York City Mayor denounce the rise of attacks against Asian Americans at the National Action Network in New York, March 18, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

In urban population centers such as New York and San Francisco, the pandemic has wrought not only the first-order effects of the disease itself, but also broader symptoms of social unrest and disrepair. Crime — and violent crime — is on the upswing after a mostly uninterrupted decades-long decline.

More disturbing still has been a notable increase in hate crimes. Between January 1 and May 2, the New York Police Department (NYPD) recorded 180 reported hate crimes; that compares most unfavorably with the 104 reported at this point last year. Much of this surge is attributable to a significant rise in

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