What to Know
- NYPD officials say hate crimes in New York City have increased dramatically since last February
- Anti-Semitic hate crimes have increased 94 percent since February 2016, with 17 of the 24 instances taking place since the start of 2017
- Nearly 100 Jewish Community Centers have been threatened so far, including facilities in Westchester and Staten Island
New York City is experiencing a dramatic rise in hate crimes, city law enforcement officials said.
Anti-Semitic hate crime surged 94 percent since last February, driving up hate crime numbers throughout the city, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at a press conference Wednesday. He believes it's part of a nationwide pattern.
The department has received several "very troubling" anti-Semitic threats, but is "highly focused" on assessing each threat and taking the appropriate measures as necessary, says Mayor Bill de Blasio. He added that the "atmosphere of hate" is giving rise to more widespread acts of discrmination.
"We will not accept anti-Semitism in this country, but the backgroup is worrisome," he said. "An atmosphere of hate has been fostered in these last few months in America, we have to stop it."
To combat the rise in hate crimes, police presence has been ramped up at centers and places of worship, says NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez. There'll be an increase in security during the Passover holiday as an extra precaution.
A wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish Community Centers have left thousands on edge since the start of 2017. Threats called into JCCs in at least five states, including New Jersey, prompted evacuations Jan. 9.
At least 20 centers and day schools were targeted in a new round of threats, the national Jewish Community Centers Association told NBC News Monday. Among those targeted were facilities in Pennsylvania and in the New York City area like Plainview, where 400 people — including 200 preschoolers — were forced to leave the building, police said.
The number of hate groups within the U.S. has risen 3 percent to 917, a slight increase from 892 in 2015.