The city has seen a 67 percent increase in hate crimes this year, according to NYPD statistics released on Thursday. The data release comes amid several high-profile attacks against religious groups across the world in recent weeks, and coincides with Holocaust Rememberance Day.
A total of 145 hate crimes were committed in the city this year as of April 30, according to the department. Of those, 57 percent (or 82 crimes) were anti-Semitic in nature — and of those 82 crimes about 80 percent were drawings of swastikas.
"We have a very robust Hate Crimes Task Force," said Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. "There is a zero tolerance in New York City for hate of any kind whether it’s anti-Semitic, anti-religion, anti-gender or any other kind."
The latest statistics follow a tumultuous couple of months in which 50 people were killed in a shooting in two mosques in New Zealand in March, more than 200 people were killed in coordinated attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka over Easter weekend, and one person was killed and several others injured during a shooting at a synagogue in San Diego this past weekend.
A potential gas attack on St. Patrick’s Cathedral was also thwarted last month. The suspect was charged with attempted arson.
"The forces of white supremacy have been unleashed and … those are profoundly anti-Semitic forces," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I think what’s happening here in this country is that a lot of folks used to be told it was unacceptable to be anti-Semitic, it was unacceptable to be racist. And now, they are getting more permission. And what I’m seeing around the country really worries me that these nativist forces who don’t like a whole lot of people who make up America today, including Jewish people, are coming out of the woodwork and we’ve got to fight them back."
Shea said "a number of incidents" have been concentrated in Brooklyn, "but there is no part of the city that I would say we haven’t seen" hate crimes reported.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 1,879 reported anti-Semitic incidents throughout the country last year, 340 of which were in New York State.
“The data released by NYPD today is deeply disturbing and should serve as an important reminder to all of us that we must continue to be vigilant in the face of hate,” Evan R. Bernstein, the New York and New Jersey regional director of the ADL, said in a statement. “On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, it remains imperative that New Yorkers continue to stand up to condemn these hateful and anti-Semitic acts. No one should ever have to live in fear that they will be attacked, harassed or targeted because of their faith. New York is no place for hate.”