Following the recent spike in the number of reported hate crimes in different locations, New York State will spend $25 million to boost security around schools and day care centers at particular risk.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Thursday, noting a bomb threat that was called in to the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters in Midtown Manhattan the day before. He also noted the significant increases in reported hate crimes targeting Muslims and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals last year.
The $25 million grant will fund additional security training needs at schools and day care centers, along with cameras, state-of-the-art technology, door-hardening, and other related security upgrades
“New York must always be the beacon of tolerance and hope for all, and with the recent explosion of anti-Semitism and hate crimes, it is more important than ever before that we do everything in our power to ensure the safety and equal treatment of all New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. The grant program will be administered by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The governor announced the measure following a roundtable with 50 religious leaders from across the state, including members representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, his office said.
Since January, there have been 69 incidents of bias and discrimination at 54 Jewish Community Centers in 27 states, according to the JCC Association of North America.
The state also launched a Hate Crimes Text Line to enable New Yorkers to easily report incidents in their community. Those who have experienced or witnessed bias or discrimination are encouraged to text “HATE” to 81336 with details of the incident, including photo or video documentation. The texting capability expands on the state’s toll-free telephone hotline that began in November, allowing people to report incidents of bias or discrimination.
A $5,000 reward will also be made available for any information leading to an arrest and conviction for a hate crime.
“Any acts of bias or discrimination will be met with the full force of the law,” Cuomo said.