NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An increase in anti-Semitic incidents and the bombing in Chelsea have police on high alert for the upcoming Jewish holidays.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, police Commissioner James O’Neill urged community leaders to be vigilant.
“Don’t be driven by fear,” O’Neill said. “This is the world’s greatest country. We can’t be driven by fear. But you have to pay attention to your surroundings.”
O’Neill met Wednesday with leaders of the Jewish community to tell them that police counterterrorism officials have their back, saying the outreach was especially important after the Chelsea bombing left dozens injured this past Saturday night.
The meeting comes as hate crimes and anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise.
Hate crimes are up 21 percent, with 250 so far this year compared to 206 in 2015. Anti-Semitic incidents are also up, with 90 so far this year compared with 85 last year.
That and the increased concerns about terror have police increasing security around houses of worship and in various Jewish communities.
It is expected to include increased patrols and what the police called the counterterrorism overlay for almost the entire month of October.
“We deploy extra patrol resources; extra counterterrorism officer resources,” said NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez. “We want to provide a sense of safety and security throughout the entire month.”
Jewish leaders said they are happy the NYPD is giving them extra protection, especially after the Chelsea bombing.
“There’s heightened concern, but the Police Department has assured us that they’re doing everything humanly possible to make our holiday safe, and we trust them and believe they’re going to do that,” said Rabbi Jacob Goldstein of Brooklyn.
Goldstein also expressed concern about the increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
“Six percent – that’s a pretty substantial number, and I think collectively, we have to figure out how to bring that down,” Goldstein said.
Community leaders are also being asked to consider increasing visible security measures, such as hiring armed security personnel at synagogues, to signal that those facilities are tough targets.
The NYPD routinely increases security during the High Holy Days. But this year, officials said, there will be additional resources.