A new hate crime reporting portal is launched while Irvine Police are investigating the attack on a 69-year-old Asian man

The Irvine Police Department released footage this week of a young man who allegedly assaulted a 69-year-old Asian man after a skirmish between her dogs.

The department released the footage of the alleged crime that took place at Sierra Vista Middle School last Friday in hopes that the public can identify the young man.

An anonymous tip from several submitted this week led police on Thursday to the Tustin apartment of Keven Quiroz, who was arrested on suspicion of committing the attack.

Evidence linking 23-year-old Quiroz to the incident was found in one apartment and an unloaded rifle was found in his vehicle, a press release said. Detectives are investigating whether he legally owned the rifle.

“Based on the entirety of the investigation, IPD investigators believe the attack stemmed from a dispute over the suspect’s dog over the leash,” the press release said. “It does not appear that the victim’s ethnicity was a factor in the attack.”

The alleged attack comes amid an increase in anti-Asian hate crime and racism across the country. Eight people were shot dead in Atlanta last week, including six Asian women. The suspect cited sex addiction as a motive.

Some have linked the racization of the coronavirus to the rise in hate incidents. Former President Donald Trump called it the “China virus” because of its country of origin.

Earlier this month, neighbors of an Asian family at Ladera Ranch began putting on night vigils after teenagers repeatedly harassed the family at night, rang the doorbell, yelled racist slurs and knocked on the door.

Seal Beach Police are investigating a racist letter sent to a Korean American this week.

Orange County has the third largest Asian-American population in the country, and Irvine has the largest Asian-American population in the county.

Just days after the mass shootings in Atlanta, Irvine announced that it would set up a new multilingual portal for reporting hate crimes through the police department.

The efforts are part of the city’s goal to promote diversity and eradicate racism. At the end of January, the Council decided to reaffirm its commitment to diversity and equity with a “We Are Irvine” campaign.

Irvine police spokeswoman Karie Davies said Wednesday the portal offered an option or “safe space” for people who are uncomfortable speaking to an officer or when there is a problem with language barriers.

The portal is currently in English but may be available in Farsi, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish. The department hopes to add more languages ​​in the near future.

Davies said the department was working on adding the other languages ​​to the portal but a bug reset this.

Davies said there were seven hate crimes reported in Irvine in both 2020 and 2019, and two hate crimes in 2018. One hate crime against Asia was reported in 2020, one in 2019, and none in 2018.

Davies said there were 18 hate incidents reported in 2020 and 11 in 2019. There were three reported hate incidents targeting Asia in 2020 and none in 2019.

Hate crimes and incidents may occur more frequently than these numbers reflect as hate crime victims may not be willing to report them to the police.

A national survey conducted by Arizona State University’s Carnegie-Knight News21 initiative in 2018 found that Latinos may not report hate crimes for fear of deportation. It also found that members of the LGBTQ community were reluctant to report hate crimes due to distrust of the police.

Irvine’s hate crime reporting portal is designed to be a convenient option for those who may be reluctant to contact the police.

“The reason for going on the portal is that you see a lot of comments online suggesting hate crime is increasing and there is no specific mention of Irvine, but it certainly gives the impression that there is some underreported information,” Davies said. “That was part of the reason we set up an online reporting system so that they can go straight to the online reporting system and file the information there in case they are uncomfortable talking to an officer or are afraid for whatever reason whatever. “

Those who use the portal have the option to remain anonymous, although Davies said this makes it difficult for police to find the perpetrator of the crime.

When asked if there is an increasing number of hate crimes and incidents in Irvine, Davies said there is a “perception” that there is an increase.

“And while that may be the case in the county, we don’t see any data in Irvine to support it,” Davies said.

Mayor Farrah Khan, who has spoken out loudly against hate crimes and racism in the community, wrote on Twitter last week to endorse the portal. She also shared the news of the attack on her Twitter account this week.

“For our API community members, please know that you are not alone,” Khan said on Twitter. “I understand that you may not feel safe or protected during these challenging times. Please know that you have friends and supporters here willing to help. Don’t be afraid to speak up or report incidents. “

At a city council meeting this week, some residents spoke out in favor of the portal.

“I am proud that the City of Irvine has taken a proactive stance,” said Jenn Cho. “It is important that our community has a simple and clear way to report and view hate crime and incident data, and it is so important that the voices and stories of the AAPI community are heard. For far too long we have been made invisible, treated as foreigners forever, and overlooked in conversations about races. These city council actions take us one step closer and help the Asian-American community feel safe, seen, and valued. “

“I am delighted to see that Irvine has gone beyond mere tolerance of inclusion. The public commitment to standing up for our minority residents and making sure they are fully involved and have access to the city’s website is very important,” he said Melisa Masri. “… It was disheartening to see how hate crimes and demagoguery have increased across the country in recent years. Hopefully with these changes by the city council, residents will realize that hate crimes will not be tolerated here.”

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