Denny Kim was walking to dinner in Koreatown when he was attacked in February.
Two men approached Kim, a 27-year-old Air Force veteran, and shouted anti-Asian slurs, including “Chinese virus,” before taking a swing at him. He was left with a black eye and injured nose.
“[It was] absolutely unprovoked,” Kim, who is Asian American, told KTLA-TV at the time. “I didn’t know who these guys are.”
He had become one of a growing number of victims of anti-Asian hate crimes, which are continuing to surge in Los Angeles and around the country, a new study has found.
The study, by the Center for the Study of Hate in Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, examined police data from 16 jurisdictions across the country, finding a 164% increase in reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the same period last year.
New York saw the greatest increase at 223%, followed by 140% in San Francisco, 80% in Los Angeles and 60% in Boston.
Some cities, including Phoenix, Seattle and Miami, reported no change, year over year.
The report’s author, Brian Levin, said the jurisdictions were chosen because they have large Asian American populations and a history of collecting reliable hate crime data.
“There’s a national story, and there’s also local and regional stories, but it’s fairly consistent,” said Levin, the center’s director and a professor of criminal justice. “The nature of these crimes are violent.”
While increased awareness often drives increased reporting, Levin said the latest findings are significant enough to point to an actual jump in crimes.