KING COUNTY, Wash. - King County prosecutors say data shows Seattle as among the cities with the highest hate crime numbers, and attribute more victims reporting the crimes and a designated bias crimes detective dedicated to working these cases.
Alarming new numbers show a significant increase in hate crimes in King County. In a news conference Tuesday, the prosecutor's office revealed the data to back it up.
In 2018 there were 30 reported hate crimes in King County, and in 2019, 39 cases were reported. By 2020, the total number jumped significantly to 59.
Now we're already at 7 cases for the start of 2021.
"Asian American communities are getting attacked at an increasingly alarming rate based on the negative, inaccurate thoughts that Asian Americans are the reason that covid is spreading," said King County Deputy Prosecutor Leandra Craft.
The U.S. coronavirus outbreak this time last year was the start of a slew of cases involving hate-fueled rhetoric against the Asian community.
One man was wanted in May for multiple anti-Asian attacks in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.
Footage from surveillance video surfaced of a couple being physically attacked in downtown Seattle. The couple told police the man asked "where are you from" and spit in their face.
"He started asking are you Chinese? I said, 'No I'm not, I'm Thai," said witness Natthiya Chumdee.
During the pandemic, there have been more than 3,000 reports showing anti-Asian discrimination, according to the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
"I do think there were more hate crimes that occurred in 2020 and were being reported than in the prior years because of what we saw happen in society in 2020," said Craft.
But there are still countless other cases that still go unreported.
The King County prosecutor's office said they’ve seen more cases in North King County than in South King County. They also said the majority of the cases involve suspects with mental health or substance abuse issues.
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