The Second Amendment in action.

Via Sac Bee:

Asian residents of south Sacramento say they’ve formed their own armed patrols to respond to a wave of robberies that has terrorized the community, where business owners report a steep drop in customers because people are afraid to go out after dark.

Sacramento police, meanwhile, say they are weighing whether to classify some of the robberies as hate crimes.

Restaurants and supermarkets in south Sacramento are closing early, with some managers escorting customers to their vehicles to prevent robberies in the parking lot. Some business owners have resorted to layoffs, as revenue declines hit 20 to 30 percent on average.

“I don’t blame people for not coming out,” restaurateur Joe Liao said in Mandarin on Monday. “If they go out to eat, they have two things to worry about – robbery in the parking lot or burglary at home.”

Liao owns Szechuan Spicy House on 65th Street in the Shun Fat Supermarket plaza, a bustling center of Asian commerce in south Sacramento. Few diners arrive past 7:30 p.m. since the surge in crime began over the last six months, Liao said.

On Stockton Boulevard, King Palace Seafood manager Paula Young has chosen to close an hour early at 8:30 p.m. on several occasions due to the lack of customers.

“The people who live in south Sacramento aren’t coming out anymore,” she said. “They are afraid. All everyone talks about now is the crime.”

Some Chinese community leaders have formed a task force to combat the issue themselves, frustrated by the slow response from civic leaders. The volunteers have launched armed patrols in south Sacramento and respond to calls for assistance from those using WeChat, a popular social media app that originated in China.

“This is a lifeline for Chinese people. This is the only way they can call for help,” said Wei Xin Yang, one of the organizers of the WeChat group.

Speaking in Mandarin, Yang said there are dozens of volunteers participating in the armed patrols, from restaurant owners to marijuana growers. Yang, who has lived in Sacramento for nearly 30 years, said 1,000 people are subscribed to the WeChat group and that calls for help have rapidly increased over the last few weeks as more people discover this resource.

“There’s no difference between night and day,” he said of the requests for assistance. “We need to take security into our own hands. If not, who will protect us?”

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