Westwood Police Answer Community Questions about Crimes Against Westwood's Asian Residents


Source: Middlesex District Attorney's Office. Pictured is evidence gathered by investigators in the case of arrests of individuals involved in a burglary ring related to thefts in 25 Massachusetts towns, including Westwood.

In the month of May which is celebrated as Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, Westwood's Asian community is experiencing feelings of anxiety following crimes that appear to have targeted Asian victims in Westwood and nearby municipalities. 

Following Westwood Police Department community outreach, Westwood Chinese School is hosting a Town Hall with Westwood Police to discuss the issue at Westwood High School's auditorium on Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 10:30 a.m.  The meeting is open to the public.

At the end of last month, Westwood Police reached out to Westwood Chinese School to alert the WCS community to crimes involving Chinese residents of Westwood, and to provide information to help prevent residents from being victimized.

Following Westwood Police's contact with WCS, members of Westwood's Chinese community started an online petition on April 22, 2024 at Change.org, asking for increased police attention to crimes involving Asian victims in Westwood, and a town hall meeting to raise questions and concerns. The petition notes at least four home break-ins of homes of Chinese residents, and resulting feelings of anxiety and panic in the community.

Very shortly thereafter, the parties arranged Sunday's Town Hall meeting. On the agenda for the meeting are a brief overview of anti-Asian crime in the United States and a summary of commonly held questions. An assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice will present the overview, followed by a brief update by Westwood Police of recent crimes targeting the Chinese community.

Community questions which have been posed to police and which organizers hope to have answered include the following:

  • If the police are aware of approximately 40 crimes in the area since 2024, why wasn’t the public alerted sooner?
  • Is there a plan for the police to enhance patrol routes and frequency, particularly in areas with high density of Chinese and Indian families?
  • The grandparents reside with us, are unable to communicate in English, and thus do not answer the doorbell or go outside when there is a knock. How can I ensure their safety in the event of a home intrusion?
  • Is the FBI actively involved in solving the series of crimes, particularly if there are similar incidents happening across different states within the New England area?
  • Are Korean and Japanese families also at target, or is it primarily Chinese and Indian households?

At the end of April,  Westwood Minute reported on law enforcement's arrest of four individuals connected to a burglary ring which targeted people of Indian or South Asian heritage across 25 Massachusetts towns, including Westwood and nearby communities of Millis, Medway, and Sharon. Westwood Minute also reported on four break-ins to residents' homes over Spring Break, although race of the victims was not known and not reported in that article.

In the case of the multi-town burglary ring, it appears that thieves primarily targeted South Asian households due to their belief that they would be more likely to contain cash, jewelry and precious metals due to the South Asian culture and heritage.

You may also be interested in:

Four Arrested in Connection to 43 Breaks Across 25 Communities, Including Westwood and Nearby

Westwood Families Report Thefts over School Vacation Week

Police Log: Resident Loses Thousands to Fraudster Seeking Gift Cards and Other Stories

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