Leaders in the Asian community are asking those who live in Portland to use extra caution in the wake of recent burglaries.

On Friday, the Portland Police Department warned that a small group of men appear to be targeting and burglarizing the homes of Asian families. Police said the men made contact a day or two before the crime, posing as food delivery drivers to get inside and look at the home.

Theresa Kim, vice president of the Unified Asian Communities of Portland, said the burglaries are opening old wounds.

“I was super upset,” she said, especially with the anniversary of the shootings of Asian women two years ago at spas in Atlanta, and the extensive verbal attacks against Asians.

She worries that some in the community are reluctant to report crimes.

“That’s a hurdle we’ve had,” Kim said. “You have to realize a lot of communities come from war-torn countries with trauma. So for them to be able to reach out to the police may be a challenge for them, especially of our older community members with the cultural barriers of language and understanding.”


There is speculation about why Asian households may be targeted.

“There’s so much going on right now,” Kim said. With the recent, sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, it could be that some are expecting local business owners to withdraw money from the banks and keep money in their homes, she said. “I’ve had community members reach out in the past couple of weeks asking, ‘Should I take my money out of the bank?’ I said, ‘Not necessarily.’ There is a fear.”

As far as Kim has heard, none of the community members burglarized had been injured. The Unified Asian Communities of Portland has not heard directly from victims, or how many households were robbed. “I’m thinking there have been quite a few,” Kim said.

The Asian community has been struck by hate crimes, prejudice “and now burglaries,” she said. “Enough is enough.”

Kim said she’s seen an uptick of reports from Asians in Maine that others “will spit on them, telling them to go back to their country. That’s continuing to happen.”

Kim is advising members “to be vigilant” and aware of what’s outside. They should look out their windows to see who is at their door and answer with two people – if they answer at all.

She recommends that any orders be left outside the door.

And since delivery drivers are often the same person, if someone at the door is not the regular driver, use extra caution, she said.

Unified Asian Communities can offer help, guidance and support, Kim said. The group can be reached at 558-2367.

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