By ISRAEL SALAS-RODRIGUEZ
In response to the alarming rise of hate crime in New York City since the start of the new year, several city council members on Thursday called for a $25 million security grant program to protect Jewish, Muslim, and other community institutions.
The coalition of officials was responding to a New York City Police Department report showing a rise in hate crimes and attacks, which, they said, grew by over 56 percent compared to this point in 2016. The increase was led by anti-Semitic crimes targeting Jewish institutions but also included Muslim mosques, LGBTQ communities, as well as immigrants.
“The spike in hate crime in New York City is extraordinarily serious and it requires a serious respond from city government,” said Councilman Rory Lancman at a press conference on the steps of City Hall.
As Councilman Mark Levine was speaking word came that the Jewish Children Museum in Brooklyn was evacuated due to a bomb threat.
“Make no mistake the bomb threats are theorizing our people, they’re theorizing New Yorkers, and we must respond,” said Levine. This is yet another reason for why many of these non-profit institutions are calling for city funding to increase security presence, install security cameras, better lighting, bullet proof glass, and more secure locks.
Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield said there have been dozens of Jewish community centers in the city that have been victims of hate crimes including several in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, two in Queens, and over 100 nationwide.
“The threat against churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples are real, but so is the treat against institutions labeled Catholic, Jewish, Muslims, or Sikh,” said CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Michael Miller. “We welcome this bill because it fills a gap left by current federal and New York State programs. It will meet a dire need and we urge its passage,”