Following Rise in Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes, New York City Plans For Increased Security During High Holy Days
In recent weeks, three Orthodox Jewish men were attacked in New York in potentially bias-related incidents that led to major injuries.
- By Haley Samsel
- Sep 19, 2019
With Rosh Hashanah less than two weeks away, the New York City Police Department announced its plans to increase police presence in Jewish neighborhoods and synagogues during the High Holy Days this fall.
Over the past year, more Jewish residents have been targets of hate crimes, according to data collected by the city. So far this year, there have been 152 complaints of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York. Overall hate crime numbers are up, too, with 290 reported in 2019. That’s compared to 205 over the same period last year.
At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill acknowledged the increase in hate targeting Jews. They said that the department would redeploy its precinct personnel and specialized units, including critical response teams, in Jewish neighborhoods and near community centers.
“We’ve seen the rise of hate crimes in this city, even this year compared to last year, but we cannot be afraid,” de Blasio said, noting that it is his obligation to ensure that the Jewish community is protected throughout the year.
O’Neill asked for the community’s help in staying vigilant and reporting suspicious activity to police, particularly during the holidays. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration is set to begin on Sept. 28 and end on Oct. 1. Yom Kippur will follow a week later.
“Public safety is a shared responsibility,” O’Neill said. “It requires you to take ownership and keep an eye out in the neighborhoods where you live, where you work and where you worship. No one knows these streets better than you do, so we rely on you to let us know when something doesn’t look right.”
In recent weeks, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force has opened three investigations into attacks on Orthodox men, including incidents in which a Jewish man was beaten with a belt and a rabbi was hit in the face with a heavy paving stone, leading to a broken nose and two lost teeth.
The other incident involved an Orthodox man suffering an eye injury after people threw something, potentially ice, at his car while he was in traffic, CBS New York reported.
The press conference, which is held annually to keep Jewish leaders and residents informed of security measures for the holidays, aims to serve as a deterrent to anyone planning to attack Jews in the city, de Blasio said.
“We’re gathered today in solidarity, we’re gathered today in vigilance to always show the community that we’re on guard [and] to remind anyone who would do a malicious act toward this community that we are watching, and we will act, and there will be consequences,” de Blasio said. “We will not accept hatred in New York City.”