As hate crimes against Asian communities are increasing nationwide, one local group asked Rockville, Maryland’s police chief how they should handle the situation should they become victims.
Chief Victor Brito said his department is trying to make sure local Asian communities have the information and tools to reach out.
“Crimes of bigotry, hate are often underreported,” Brito said.
During an online meeting with the Taiwanese-American First Responders Benevolent Organization and the Taiwanese American Diversity Associates on Saturday afternoon, Brito urged those who witness or are victims of a hate crime to call 911 or the Rockville police non-emergency number at 240-314-8900.
He added that they have robust translation services to help with a range of languages.
“Let us come out and let us get involved,” Brito said. “It’s very, very important that we know these types of crimes and people aren’t silent, and when they are subjected to hate and let us have the ability and give us the opportunity to investigate that and hold those accountable.”
And he said when it comes to knowing whether something constitutes a hate crime, it’s all about intuition.
“You know, when you feel something’s not good, when the hair stands on the back of your neck, or you know, you just have that feeling. Use your instincts,” Brito said.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, Rockville City Mayor Bridget Newton and Montgomery County Councilmember Sydney Katz also spoke during Saturday’s event.
Many of the questions from community members focused on how to recognize and report hate crimes.
“We don’t accept this here,” Elrich said regarding hate crimes. “Montgomery County’s worked hard to be a community where everybody’s welcome.”