Video of an alarmingly brazen robbery at a South Sacramento home was released Sunday, providing a gripping example of what the area's Asian-American residents have called an unsafe climate in which they are disproportionately the targets of property crime.
The security footage, captured Sept. 7 around 8:30 p.m. and released by KTLA sister station KTXL, shows an armed man confronting a woman in her driveway as she gets out of her car. He had pretended to be looking for a restaurant before hitting her with the firearm and ordering her to retrieve her purse, she said. Purse in hand, the man casually walks away.
The woman and her husband asked KTXL to conceal their identities due to concern for their safety.
Over the past year, the predominantly Asian community of South Sacramento has been crippled by a sharp rise in the number of armed robberies, forcing residents to form their own armed patrols and shutter their businesses early, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The husband said he's lived in his South Sacramento neighborhood for 26 years and didn't begin questioning his safety until recently.
"They're targeting Asian people because they think we have money, cash on hand," he said.
The crimes have a pattern, the Bee reports: Victims are attacked as their exit their vehicles at home or in a parking lot.
In the video released by KTXL, as the woman walks to the passenger side of her car, a man approaches from the left, pulls out a gun and grabs her arm.
The suspect appears to get upset that the woman is in his way and proceeds to hit her with the gun. He then gets into the car, grabs her purse and casually walks away. The woman appears to keep her cool but admits her heart was racing.
Police have stopped short of investigating the instances as hate crimes and have not released details on 10 arrests they say they made in connection with the string of crimes, according to the newspaper.