Coronavirus outbreak: Neighbors form peace group to keep Chinatown safe from crimes

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
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With the emptiness that comes with shelter-at-home orders, some community members are worried about crime and looting. That's why a group calling themselves the SF Peace Collective have formed to take action.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- These days, it's not uncommon to see boarded up windows and storefronts across San Francisco.

But with the emptiness, some community members are worried about crime and looting - But instead of just speaking up over their concerns, a group calling themselves the SF Peace Collective have formed to take action.

Facebook video from Monday shows a couple, Leanna Louie and her partner Robert Lowe patrolling the streets of their Chinatown neighborhood, on the lookout for anything "off."

"I want my future generations to know we have a voice and we have to use it. We can't be quiet we have to let people know we're here we're alive and we need to be treated right." says Leanna.

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The duo are just two of the thousands who responded online in less than 48 hours, wanting to keep Chinatown safe during the coronavirus outbreak. The group watches for anything out of the ordinary, such as seniors who appear to be in poor health to looters.

Many wanted to join because they were fed up over a string of incidents, caught on camera in the past year, such as the brutal assault of two seniors in broad daylight.

"Asian Americans, they're not really speaking out or they figure they can't do nothing, so they're timid and we decided we have to do something," says Robert.

SFPD's Chief William Scott spoke at a news conference Monday about the decrease in crime in the wake of coronavirus. Compared to last March, violent crime, property crime and the number of service calls are down.

Here is the specific breakdown:

Violent crime: Down 9 incidents

Property crime: Down 400

Calls for service: Down 25%

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However, that's not stopping SF Peace Collective founding member Max Leung from continuing the mission of watching out for his neighbors, whose frustrations seem to be mounting.

"Finally it got to the point where it's like 'OK. I just need to take it upon myself,' and luckily there are like minded individuals. We need to become the leaders ourselves and oftentimes true leaders are reluctant. It's not for the fame or recognition. It's simply to heed the call that it's needed."

SFPD says there were zero hate crimes reported this month but many in the community say, and Chief William Scott acknowledges anecdotally they're happening. He encourages people to report these crimes in order to make change.