NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hate crimes in New York have doubled compared to this time last year.
On Wednesday morning, three men pushed a 51-year-old Crown Heights man and beat him because he was Jewish, reported CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
Police believe the same men, now under arrest and charged with a hate crime, attacked 22-year-old Mendel Super on the same day, just 15 minutes earlier.
“It was the scariest experience of my life. I’m just walking in my own neighborhood where I live and I should feel comfortable. And something like this happens. It’s just so disturbing and just senseless,” Super said.
There were 11 hate crimes at this time in 2018, and 22 this year. Fifteen of them were attacks on Jews, including a young man punched as he walked on Kingston Avenue two weeks ago.
Some critics question if ending the prosecution of quality-of-life crimes could be fueling violence. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance stopped prosecuting low level, nonviolent crimes in 2016, adding marijuana offenses to the list last year.
“I actually find in Manhattan, where we have reduced the number of low-level cases we prosecuted by 50 percent in the last 6 years… Manhattan is safer,” Vance said. “And I don’t see a relationship between those cases and hate crimes.”
Evan Bernstein of the New York/New Jersey Anti-Defamation League says there has always been a consistent uptick in crimes against Jews.
“I think the climate of this country is putting more of a light on what’s been taking place for sometime in Brooklyn. And hopefully it’s time to start doing more to prevent these acts of hate from taking place,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein and Super advocate for more conversation and education.
“We have to inspire and educate the people around us that… to love everyone,” Super said.
“When you don’t have people communicating with one another it creates a divide. And that divide can potentially lead to violence,” Bernstein added.
No words were exchanged in the last two attacks, which ended with two victims lucky to be alive, and a lesson about intolerance that has yet to be learned.