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Police, AAPI community leaders address possible threats in Las Vegas

LVMPD Chinatown Vegas.PNG
Posted at 12:47 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 23:30:46-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV)  — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department joined leaders in the local Asian community to discuss the recent attacks seen across the nation in a press conference on Thursday.

LVMPD Spring Valley Area Command Capt. Nick Farese led the discussion and spoke about the growing safety concerns due to the recent acts of violence.

Police say there are no known credible threats currently to the local Asian community, but the department has a long history of partnering with Asian business owners and residents with such situations.

Farese says the department is committed to keeping the Asian community safe in the Las Vegas valley and will not allow a specific group to be attacked.

Chinatown Plaza is a center of the AAPI community in Las Vegas drawing locals and visitors. One thing they should expect to see is more LVMPD officers walking and patrolling around.

“The more of the police presence in town, in the area or the community, the safer the patrons feel and also the tourists since we’re opening up at 50 percent as of now.”

RELATED: Las Vegas AAPI leaders react to Atlanta spa shootings

Property manager Joe Shen says some AAPI business owners have shared their fears about being targets of violence. Their concerns stemming from the Atlanta spa shootings Tuesday night that left eight people dead, six of them Asian women. Shen’s focus is making sure store owners and their customers feel safe.

“I believe this will help drive more business for the local business owners,” he said.

Nicole Santero is a board member of the Organization of Chinese Americans or OCA in Las Vegas. She says the extra patrols provide a short-term solution but also says people need to continue to call out incidents of racism, especially if it’s being spoken.

“Verbal harassment is a big deal and we know that words hurt and words matter,” she said.

Some in the AAPI community feel uncomfortable contacting law enforcement because of cultural barriers or fears about policing. Captain Farese says that why he’s working with local AAPI leaders to bridge any divides and encouraging people to speak up.

“Regardless of your status in this country or what your beliefs are, the police department doesn’t take that into account. Every victim is treated with the same empathy, dignity, and respect that they deserve,” he said.

A replay of Thursday's press conference can be viewed below: