A group of San Francisco area high-school students is traveling to Sacramento to tell police officers, social workers, and ministers from across California what their world is like: drive-by shootings, drugs sold at street corners, petty crimes in broad daylight, the San Jose Mercury News says. “There’s a lot of poverty; people are more desperate. That contributes to a lot of the violence, and that needs to be addressed,” said Sang Saephan, 21, who will escort the students to the Statewide Dialogue on Asian and Pacific Islander Youth Violence.
More than 50 organizations, government agencies, public officials, and community activists will co-sponsor the event tomorrow. While Asians as a group do not have a high crime rate, the statistics can be startling once offenses are broken down by ethnicity, said Isami Arifuku of the Oakland-based National Council on Crime and Delinquency. In San Francisco, Samoans have the highest arrest rate of any group as a proportion of their population; 73 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander youth incarcerated by the California Youth Authority are affiliated with a gang. The figures for other groups Cambodia, 91 percent; Laos, 88 percent; and Thai, 87 percent. The Hispanic rate is 74 percent.