Sheriff’s captain says anti-Asian crimes are not rising in Cupertino but remain a priority


Kevin V Nguyen

City Manager Deborah Feng and Captain Rich Urena speak during the City of Cupertino’s Community Forum on anti-Asian racism

Sheriff’s Captain Ricardo Urena reassured Cupertino residents that anti-Asian hate crimes are not increasing in the area and continue to be a departmental priority in the City of Cupertino Community Forum on April 15.

“We condemn the recent hate crimes and bigotry against our AAPI communities,” Urena said. “As law enforcement leaders in Santa Clara County, we are committed to protecting you and doing everything we can to prevent these abhorrent criminal acts.”

The proportion of Asian victims in serious crimes has not increased in the city, where over 67% of residents are Asian.

As a precaution, Urena outlined what constitutes a “hate crime” and told residents what they should do if they witness one.

“Please call us right away; we have plenty of resources,” he said. “We are responding to all calls even if a threat is not apparent.”

Urena added that his department is working to deter crimes by trying to be more visible. As an example, he said deputies are now riding bikes around high-density shopping plazas like Main Street Cupertino.

In the Q&A portion of the forum, a resident asked if there were any “legally binding” phrases a bystander could say to stop a verbally abusive person in public.

Urena responded that individuals have the right to free speech because of the First Amendment, advising residents not to engage if possible and to contact the police if they feel threatened.

Residents also asked how they could become helpful bystanders, referring to viral videos in which victims of anti-Asian crimes receive little to no help from others.

“We will never ask you to put yourself in harm’s way, but don’t do nothing,” Urena said. “Sometimes just addressing the assailant can give them pause. Capturing video or even taking down a license plate number will help us apprehend the criminal.”

He added that residents should be mindful and keep themselves safe, recommending situational awareness and cautioning against walking alone.

This forum follows other Cupertino events about anti-Asian racism.