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As an Indian American family returned home from the airport, two armed men appeared and told them  to get into their house.  Once inside, the robbers forced them to kneel, ripped chains off the wife’s neck, and stole $25,000 of jewelry from the house. According to this article from Bay Citizen, this family, like an increasing number of other Indian Americans in Silicon Valley, was targeted for one reason:  gold.

Indians are said to like to wear and carry gold, and apparently keeping $25,000 worth of gold at home is not unusual. With the growth of the Indian American population in Silicon Valley and other places, their cultural practices are becoming known and their population is becoming more visible. The price of gold has increased steadily in the past few years, fueling the emergence of businesses that buy gold and providing more incentives for these kind of targeted robberies.  As this article points out, Indian Americans in other parts of the country have been targeted for their gold, such as in Northern Virginia in 2009.

The Bay Citizen article says while mainstream media ignored the robbery, news that a young boy was made to kneel like he was to be executed spread through the Indian American community. Krati Rungta, a co-founder of Indian American website Bay Area Desi, said that people worried that their traditions made them “easy targets.”

Asian Americans have been targeted by criminals because of the perception that they are easy prey, or because they are less likely to speak up. Similar to the situation with Indian Americans, some Vietnamese Americans have been targeted in the past (often by other Vietnamese Americans) because some leave large amounts of cash and jewelry at home. Recommendations like keeping valuables in safe deposit boxes can help prevent large losses and reduce the incentive to perpetrate home robberies.

(Flickr Photo Credit:  dee_gee)

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