NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials from the Anti-Defamation League have expressed their concerns over the recent string of bias incidents across New York State following the presidential election.
“The spate of anti-Semitic vandalism that has struck communities in New York – from upstate New York to the boroughs of New York City is deeply concerning,” said Evan Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director. “The appearance of swastikas on college campuses and public property are searing and breeds fear and fuels anxiety that has risen since the end of the presidential election.”
On Monday, police released surveillance video of a suspect who they say spray painted a swastika on a Brooklyn sidewalk as the NYPD investigates another unrelated incident of swastikas found at a college dorm in Manhattan.
The graffiti in Crown Heights was found spray painted in front of the home of a 78-year-old man near Montgomery Street and Brooklyn Avenue around 6 p.m. Saturday, police said.
“Doesn’t make me feel threatened, just makes me feel a little bit scared,” neighbor Moshe Banda told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
“It’s mean-spirited and evil,” another neighbor said.
Neighbor Chaya Uminev found the same white spray paint on her parked car.
“I feel that we live with people that have a lot of hate,” she said.
The suspect, who police described as a male with a gray sweater and a backpack, was seen on surveillance video. After spray painting the graffiti, police said he fled west on Montgomery.
The incident came a day after swastikas were found scrawled on four dorm room doors at the New School’s Kerrey Hall on Fifth Avenue near 13th Street. While the cases are unrelated, the feeling that symbol brings is universal, Doris reported.
“It is threatening it’s kind of uncomfortable to know those people are in the school,” said student Priya Perkins.
The woman who posted a picture of the hateful graffiti says she and two other Jewish students live in one of the rooms that was targeted.
Students say their school is a typically progressive environment.
“It’s supposed to be accepting, but I guess not now,” said student Mikala Greenidge. “It’s just really disappointing and I hope people get their act together — at a time like this, this is definitely not the time to be doing it.”
The school has denounced the hateful rhetoric and will be increasing security, releasing a letter promising “serious and swift” consequences from both the NYPD and school administration.
It is also encouraging students to attend community talks and said counseling is available.
Swastikas were also found on a street in front of homes for sale in Ramapo and Clarkstown in Rockland County, as well as on a bike path along the Bronx River.
Douglas Century was running along the bike path when he saw the graffiti on the ground.
“I was just like, holy crap, that’s a swastika,” Century told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “Then I looked up and I saw white power.”
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
The ADL says they recently responded to two other incidents of racial graffiti — one with anti-Semitic markings on a baseball field in Wellsville, and another concerning the vandalization of a Muslim prayer room at New York University in Brooklyn. Both incidents occurred on Nov. 10, several days after Election Day.
On Nov. 11, a swastika next to the word “Trump” was also reported in a dorm room at SUNY Geneseo.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet about the New School incident: “Hate speech is reprehensible and has no place in NYC. To the affected, we stand with you. To the perpetrators, we are better than this.”
In another tweet, the mayor’s office said “Acts of violence in our beautifully diverse city will not be tolerated. We are all better than this.”
Bernstein praised the response from de Blasio, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who addressed the incidents in an open letter where he vowed to protect minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.
“We have been gratified by the strong statements of support that have come from our elected officials in response to the hate,” Mr. Bernstein said. “Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have been outspoken and clear that these acts of hate are unacceptable and have no place in our communities.”
Anyone with information on the New York City incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.