Security technology company Verkada, based in Silicon Valley, has expanded its Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Security Camera Donation Program to the city of Chicago. The company announced it will donate $100,000 in cloud-based security cameras and software licenses to AAPI-owned organizations that are seeking enhanced security in Chicago. 

The donation program started last year to combat the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, which increased by 73% nationwide. In response to the violence, Verkada began the initiative close to home in the Bay Area, where anti-Asian violence had increased by 567% in San Francisco alone. To date, the $100,000 camera donation has allowed for an initial 100 cameras to be deployed in Asian-owned businesses across the Bay Area — providing businesses with an extra layer of security, according to Verkada. 

The program's expansion is driven by continuing attacks and mounting concern over the personal safety of vulnerable populations across the U.S. — especially among elderly Asian Americans. In partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Chinese Mutual Aid Association (CMAA), Verkada has already allocated 40 cameras for AAPI businesses in Chicago, some of which have been installed. 

"At the CMAA, our objective is to serve the needs and enhance the well-being of immigrants and refugees of all generations, including small business," said Chettha Saetia, director of Illinois SBDC. "With the alarming rise in violence against our community, it is vital that we have a strong first line of defense against these acts of hate. Verkada's security camera donation will help deter crime before it happens and aid the police in catching the aggressor if an attacker does strike. We hope that the donations provide these business owners with some comfort and empower them to stay open through these already difficult times.” 

"At Verkada we feel it is our duty to give back to and protect the communities in which we live, work and operate — especially when the security of those communities is at risk," said Dervilla Lennon, head of Verkada Gives and Verkada's Vice President of People. "It has been deeply saddening to see the rise in hateful acts against Asian Americans over the past year, and we are committed to helping the community combat these unacceptable acts of hate." 

All AAPI-owned or affiliated organizations are invited to apply directly through the donation page.