A group of community activists in Queens is taking safety into their own hands by patrolling parts of the borough in the wake of a rise in violence against Asians.
The call to action comes after another day of protests across New York City. Hundreds of Asian-Americans and allies rallied on Sunday in Union Square and Columbus Park calling for additional safety.
The outcry comes in the wake of the deadly shooting spree at spas near Atlanta early last week. Eight people were killed, six of the victims were women of Asian descent.
Emotions ran high Sunday afternoon as anger and concern over anti-Asian crimes grew. Dozens gathered outside Queens Library to call for more protections in the city's Asian communities.
Volunteers have already created what they call civil defense patrol teams: the first ever civilian patrols that will cover Flushing and northeast Queens in response to the rise in attacks.
"We try to stop some hate crimes or we try to make the community safer, especially for those elderly," activist Kai Keyli said at the Flushing rally.
So far this year, the NYPD says there have been reports of 10 anti-Asian hate crimes. In one instance, a man violently shoved a 52-year-old Asian-American woman outside a bakery in Flushing back in February.
Patrick Mateo, 47, the alleged attacker in the February assault, was later arrested by police but fear in for many in the Asian community remains.
"We try to send a strong voice to all of society, we Asian people don't cause any trouble," one of the activists said Sunday.
An estimated 300 members of retired police officers, business owners and other volunteers make up the patrol teams. For several weeks they have been out on patrol, typically covering the borough at night.