New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill held a press conference on Wednesday to address the recent spate of hate crimes as well as the city’s latest crime statistics.
“New York City saw fewer overall crimes in October, including a decrease in murders and shootings, but police are concerned about the rise in hate crimes and rapes,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at the news conference.
The recent stats show that hate crimes, particularly anti-Semitic, are up by 29 incidents. This year, there have been 159 incidents compared to 2017 with 130 incidents.
“Last month was a difficult time for our city as forces of hatred tried to divide and terrorize us,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We are the safest big city in the country because the NYPD is as diverse as all 8.5 million New Yorkers. I want to thank all our officers for working with every community to fight crime and protect us from terror.”
Hate crimes are on the rise
Recently, there have been a number of hateful crimes occurring in New York City. The tensions are still high after the Pittsburgh Synagogue massacre, the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
Just last week, a group of teens were caught throwing a metal pipe through a synagogue window, then hitting a Hasidic Jewish boy’s religious garb and pushing a young girl in Brooklyn.
Last Thursday, anti-Semitic graffiti was found inside a Brooklyn synagogue during a political event with Ilana Glazer, later on, the 26-year-old James Polite was found guilty in the case. That same day, racist messages were found scrawled on the African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan.
So far this year, crimes against the Jewish community have constituted half of all reported hate crimes in New York, up from 44 percent during the same time last year, according to data provided by the NYPD. Of the 290 reported hate crimes in New York in 2018 so far, 142 were deemed anti-Jewish.
According to NYPD, anti-Semitic incidents represented the “vast majority” of hate crimes. By comparison, hate crimes based on sexual orientation, the second-most frequently targeted hate crime category, accounted for 40 reported attacks during the same time frame.
“New Yorkers should and will continue to be resilient and celebrate diversity,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
So far in New York City, all anti-Semitic crime, including vandalism and assault, is up 13 percent, according to NYPD data.
“If you know anyone harboring similar thoughts or someone who talks about carrying out actions connected to violence against a specific group of people- we want to know about it,” O’Neill said.