Chinatown robbery, stabbing sparks safety concerns

Residents and business owners are speaking out after a recent violent attack and robbery prompted fears of rising crime in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles.

On Sunday afternoon, a 68-year-old woman was robbed of her purse and stabbed near Broadway in Chinatown, and the assailant also tried to cut a good Samaritan who tried to stop him, video shows.

“He was kind of hiding behind the tree and when she passed by, the guy just grabbed her purse,” said Diane Poon, the victim’s friend. “She tried to chase the robber and try to get [her purse] back because she said, ‘My ID is there, my phone is there and I want it back.’ When she tried to chase the guy, he turned around and stabbed her.”

The woman was stabbed multiple times by the suspect before bystanders were seen rushing over to her.

She was later hospitalized for stab wounds and a head injury she suffered when she was thrown to the ground during the assault.

Police were able to capture the assailant, identified as 26-year-old Derrick Darby, who was arrested on an attempted murder charge. He is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $160,000 bail, jail records show, and he was due to appear in L.A. County Municipal Court Wednesday morning.

Following the incident, Chinatown business owners said in recent years, they’ve seen a troubling uptick in crime.

Earlier in March, a man was caught on surveillance video shattering a storefront window at Hop Woo BBQ Seafood Restaurant.

“A lot of customers, they are scared, really scared,” said Judy Cen, the restaurant’s owner. “Right now, it’s difficult. There are a lot of homeless [people].”

Although the suspect who targeted her restaurant was later caught, she would still like to see a greater police presence in the area to help deter criminal activity.

Other nearby business owners and residents said they are also quite concerned about the uptick in crime.

“Our life is in danger right now,” said a local business owner who did not wish to be identified. “Too many homeless people, too many guns. It’s not good for anybody.”

While the suspect who attacked the elderly woman is behind bars, Chester Chong of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, said people still feel unsafe.

“It’s very unfortunate that this happened again and again in our city,” he told KTLA’s Kimberly Cheng. “It’s not only in Chinatown. The most important thing, I believe, is public safety, and everyone now is concerned.”

The 68-year-old woman has since been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home. Her loved ones are happy she’s alive and are warning other potential victims against chasing a robber, believing the altercation is not worth injury or death.

“I always tell residents if someone grabs your purse, just let it go,” Poon said. “Don’t chase after it. Don’t try to get it back.”

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