First responders in San Francisco are working together to help keep the streets safe for Asians in the city who have been the target of brutal attacks and violence in recent weeks.

A group of former and current firefighters banded together after a recent incident where a woman was dragged across the street while holding onto a robber’s vehicle was reported.

Volunteer Patrols

“We are going to be there in numbers and in strength and do what we need to do to defend these people. We know the police officers can’t be everywhere we wish,” retired San Francisco Fire Department Fire Marshall Paul Chin said.

On Tuesday, San Francisco police escorted the group of firefighters across the city’s Chinatown with the help of the Sheriff’s Department.

“While we don’t want them to act on criminal activity, we do want everyone to be safe, to keep the members of the community safe, and to watch out for the elderly and vulnerable,” San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said.

Members of the Asian Firefighters Association along with off-duty firefighters distributed cards to residents that contained the contact number for a newly launched tip-line to help Chinese-only speakers report crimes they witness.

“It’s a way to connect immediately and to get us the information as soon as we can so we can act on it,” Miyamoto said.

San Francisco City Mayor London Breed committed to providing more support to affected community members. “We’re determined to put the resources towards addressing this issue and hopefully be able to turn it around,” she said, CBS Local reported.

The firefighter group said they planned to expand patrols to reach other neighborhoods as they gain more volunteers willing to help the communities. “You see something very promising, which is all the members of the community —  from leadership, public safety, politicians —  all coming together to speak against it and do something about it,” said Miyamoto.

“I think it’s still in my blood that my main call for being here is to help protect and save lives,” Chin said.