NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York state will defend minorities against an uptick in hate crimes and anti-Semitism.

The Democratic governor said Thursday that he wants lawmakers to approve $25 million to help religious schools hire security and install cameras and alarms to prevent vandalism and other crimes.

“There is no doubt that there has been an explosion in the number of hate crimes,” he said. 

Cuomo said a special law enforcement task force will investigate any hate crimes and help to “chase down” those responsible.

The state is also establishing a $5,000 reward for information leading to hate crime convictions.

“New York is and always has been a place that celebrates diversity and religious tolerance, and we say to all New Yorkers who feel unsafe – we will always protect you,” the governor said in a statement.

Cuomo appeared with Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders to discuss efforts to fight what he calls “cowardly, anti-American and anti-New York” acts.

He said he’s concerned by an increase in hate crimes around the country, including recent vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis. 

The governor said while he did not want to make the issue political, there’s an “undeniable” connection between what happened during the presidential campaign and the recent rise, WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported.

“I think it’s undeniable but that the political tone from last year has created extreme views,” he said.

Cuomo said statistics from the state police show that the spike is a matter of fact, not opinion, 1010 WINS’ Andrew Falzone reported.

“Facts show that there’s been a wave of hate crimes since November of last year. Interestingly, the number of hate crimes was on the decline last year until November and December,” he said. “Averaged about 16 hate crimes per month. In November and December, the rate actually doubled and it was a 106% increase over the same period from the year before.”

Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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