NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of hate crimes being investigated by the NYPD has sharply increased in recent weeks.

As CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Tuesday, some residents in targeted Asian communities are banding together for their own safety.

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The police are now keeping a watchful eye over the Asian communities in Flushing, Queens.

But weeks earlier, Teresa Ting created Main Street Patrol, a group of volunteers who gather on the weekends to be the eyes and ears of downtown. This after a woman was attacked in the area, as so many around her watched.

“It is important that we just know how to fend for each other because we can’t always rely on other people and sit around and wait,” Ting said. “We want to make sure things don’t go unnoticed and unreported and the perpetrator does not get away.”

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The organization Stop AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Hate has documented more than 3,700 hate incidents and crimes targeting Asian communities across the country over the past year.

“When you use words like ‘Wuhan virus,’ ‘China virus,’ ‘kung flu,’ you’re really putting people in harm’s way. In fact, our data shows that over 700 incidents actually used or involved those kind of comments,” co-founder Manju Kulkarni said.

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According to Stop AAPI Hate, the vast majority of the incidents involve name calling or verbal harassment that does not rise to the level of a crime. But the organization said that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

“We are advocating for really strong civil rights infrastructure across the country, so that we can get at those 90% of cases that are still so traumatic,” Kulkarni said.

Meanwhile, Ting is trying to do her part.

“It’s more about bringing humanity together,” Ting said.

To keep the neighborhood she calls her second home safe.

Aundrea Cline-Thomas