NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD released its latest crime statistics on Wednesday, and they show a disturbing increase.
While overall crime is down, the department says bias attacks are on the rise.
A news conference was held inside the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the community about a rash of hate crimes reported in the last week. They said there has been a notable uptick this month, particularly against Jewish communities.
In one incident, a group of young people are seen on surveillance video running up to a 14-year-old Hasidic boy in Williamsburg, knocking his hat off and then taking off.
Police said the individuals, who are about 12 to 14 years old, are part of the same group caught on camera on Saturday night throwing a metal pipe through a window of a synagogue at the corner of Myrtle and Franklin avenues in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“It does not feel safe, even for our kids to send them out to school or anything,” one resident said. “It does not feel secure.”
Police said the incidents were the latest in a recent rash of hate crimes in the city. Police reported more than 300 hate crimes so far this year, with more than half targeting Jews. In addition, there have also been more than 40 anti-black attacks reported.
“Increased reports of swastikas concern us and other criminal mischief here in the five boroughs absolutely concern us,” O’Neill said. “None of it will ever be tolerated in New York City.”
“Seeing hate crimes toward the African community, toward the Jewish community, toward the Muslim community, toward the LGBT … it all has to stop,” Mayor de Blasio added. “One of the most powerful tools to insure that people understand that hate crimes are unacceptable is when they see there are real, tangible consequences.”
Tensions remain high in wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
Last week in Suffolk County, police removed a swastika from a congressional campaign sign in Stony Brook. Then, in lower Manhattan, a threatening racist message was scrawled at the African Burial Ground National Monument. The graffiti was removed, but no one has been arrested, leaving the community on edge.
“When are we going to have some communications to talk about that? We need to do that. If we don’t then the violence is going to continue,” one Battery Park resident said.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force did make an arrest last week in another anti-Semitic incident at a synagogue in Prospect Heights, but it is still looking for the suspects behind many of the other crimes, CBS2’s Duddridge reported.
The NYPD said it is still investigating surveillance video that has been recovered in several of the incidents and stressed that the public can help by reporting any suspicious behavior. The department added if you know anyone harboring hateful thoughts or bad intentions, report them. By doing so, you could stop a more serious incident from happening.