Conflict & Justice

Purse snatchers target Vietnamese Americans in California

The police call The Thieves the rippers, they work in pairs. This detective is investigating the purse snatchings in this city where about a third of the residents are Asian and about a third of them are Vietnamese. As for the victims, the detective says 90% are females. But he's not convinced the thieves are targeting women; they're stealing from women at malls where many Vietnamese happen to shop. But this professor says statistically this can't be happening by chance and he says maybe the crooks watch check out counters watching for Asians who pay with a lot of cash and those shoppers are often from Vietnam. Or maybe the purse snatchers may know that Vietnamese victims will be unlikely to report the crimes to the police. Even so the professor says it's troubling that the thieves can and are picking out Vietnamese shoppers with such accuracy. This analyst assumes they put in a lot of homework before they carry out the crime. Both these analysts believed the robberies were an inside cultural job and the purse snatchers were also Vietnamese. But the police have caught seven suspects and they're all Latinos. The professor says this might be a side effect of the intense ethnic mixing of San Jose.

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