Hate crimes have surged in New York City since the war began in Israel earlier this month, according to police, leading to attacks on those of both Jewish and Palestinian descent.
The New York City Police Department seemingly made extensive strides combating hate crimes with offenses dropping 21% in 2023 when compared to 2022. But all that changed after the terrorist group Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7., prompting biased acts of violence across the five boroughs.
Reported hate crimes have since increased more than 7%, according to Police Department data.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny on Tuesday revealed the disturbing new trend, which comes amidst daily, large-scale protests and demonstrations occupying the streets of the Big Apple that have kept cops on “high-alert.”
However, according to the chief, these hate-fueled acts of violence have occurred independently of any gatherings and instead are a series of isolated incidents that have taken place in subways, on buses and in the streets. While this uptick has been seen in Jewish communities such as the south of Brooklyn and Forest Hills, Queens, police say many of the reported incidents have transpired at chance meetings throughout the city.
“Some of them are random people who just happen to cross paths on the subway or on a bus. We don’t see anything that’s really planned,” Chief Kenny said. “We’re seeing a lot of people getting slapped, getting pushed.”
Last week alone the city saw a staggering 51 reported hate crimes, 30 of which were reportedly motivated by anti-Jewish sentiments, according to Chief Kenny. These 30 antisemitic acts have taken place since Oct. 9 and come in stark contrast to the same time last year when only nine were reported. Since then this year, Chief Kenny said the department has seen four anti-ethnic hate crimes, compared to just two in 2022.
“Prior to the start of the Gaza conflict on 10/7, we had a fairly steady decrease of hate crimes citywide,” Chief Kenny said. “So, for lack of a better term, we are seeing an increase in our decrease.”
On Tuesday, 28-year-old Christopher D’Aguiar was cuffed by detectives for allegedly punching a 29-year-old woman in the face inside of the 42nd Street-Lexington Avenue subway station. On Oct. 14, D’Aguiar apparently told his victim he targeted her “because she is Jewish.” Last week, cops also arrested a 26-year-old man for assaulting a rider for wearing a turban aboard a Queens bus.
Chief Kenny urged the public to stay vigilant and report any acts of hatred across the five boroughs. Despite the new uptick, police say that there are still fewer instances of antisemitic crimes in 2023 than in 2022.
“Year to date, there’s been 196 incidents of hate crimes against the Jewish community versus 208, which is minus 6%,” Chief Kenny said.