NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD Wednesday reported that the number of hate crimes are up dramatically in the city, with anti-semitic crimes up by a whopping 94 percent.
With Passover just a few weeks away, the city’s top cops says they will be stepping up security outside synagogues and Jewish Community Centers. The JCC Association of North America says there have been more than 90 threats against Jewish centers and schools across the country in just the last two months.
To some New Yorkers, the increased police presence at home is welcomed news.
“I’m very glad to hear this,” Lower East Side resident Cheryl Wacher tells CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez. “Because this makes it conspicuous that we’re not sitting back. We’re taking action.”
At a Wednesday press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio sounded off.
“These threats are very troubling and unsettling to members of the Jewish community,” he said. “I want everyone who is concerned to know the NYPD is highly focused, as it always is.”
The NYPD has recently dealt with four threats against Jewish locations.
“Each and every one of these threats that gets called in is investigated by either the Joint Terrorist Task Force or our intelligence bureau,” commissioner James O’Neill said. “And so far with the four that we have, all of them have been unfounded.”
Regardless, police say they recognize the need for heightened security. In the first two months of 2016, there were 18 anti-semitic hate crimes, compared to 35 hate crimes against Jews during the same time this year — totalling a 94 percent increase.
The NYPD will be sending more officers to visit and stand post at Jewish centers and places of worship.
“We want to provide a sense of safety,” Chief of Department Carlos Gomez said. “Reassure the centers that we’re there, we’re aware of what’s going on.”
New Yorkers are all for it.
“That’s what needs to be done for people who have silly ideas,” Upper West Side resident Shelly Doctors said. “Understand that they’re going to get themselves in trouble.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has also proposed to put $25 million in the state budget for security for religious community centers. He says the funding would allow facilities to provide security on their own. In addition, his office announced that citizens can now report hate crimes by texting HATE to 81336.
The state is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of anyone involved in the recent threats.