OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's a long-running problem that's grown worse during the pandemic. Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have spiked in the U.S., with some of those attacks linked to rhetoric blaming them for the spread of COVID-19.
3 News Now reporter Kent Luetzen took a look at the alarming statistics.
From being spit on and verbally harassed to incidents of actual physical assault, there have been thousands of reported anti-Asian American hate crimes in the last year.
"People from my community, we just tend to carry on with our business and we just prefer to mind our own business and we have other things to worry about and that is just our stereotype...but now is the time to break the stereotype and now its time to speak up," said Jacqueline Tio.
Tio said she thinks former President Trump is partly to blame for the recent spike because of the way he chose to talk about the pandemic.
The advocacy group AAPI said there were more than 2,800 reported hate incidents directed towards the Asian community in 2020.
A study done by California State University found there was a 150% increase in hate crimes against those that are Asian in major cities across the U.S.
Despite the recent increase, some in the community like Okina Tran said this is nothing new.
"I definitely worry about the well-being of not only myself but my family too. My grandma and grandpa were scared before just during the pandemic of going outside but I just can't imagine the fear that they have knowing that there have been target crimes towards...definitely our elders and that's scary,” said Okina Tran.
Tran added these types of crimes are definitely happening in the Omaha area.