New York

Cuomo: NY Will Fight Hate Crimes, Help With School Security

What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday a $25 million grant program to combat anti-Semitism, hate crimes at New York schools and day cares
  • He also announced a state police-monitored Hate Crime Text Line that enables New Yorkers to report bias incidents through text messages
  • There have been 69 incidents at 54 Jewish community centers in 27 states since January 2017, the JCC Association of North America said

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York state will defend minorities against an uptick in hate crimes and anti-Semitism.

The Democratic governor announced Thursday that a $25 million program administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to help religious schools hire security and install cameras and alarms to prevent vandalism and other crimes.

"With the recent explosion of anti-Semitism and hate crimes, it is more important than ever before that we do everything in our power to ensure the safery and equal treatment of New Yorkers," Cuomo said in a statement. "New York is and always has been a place that celebrates diversity and religious tolerance, and we say to all New Yorkers who feel unsafe — we will always protect you."

Cuomo also says a special law enforcement task force will investigate any hate crimes and help to locate those responsible. The state has launched state police-monitored Hate Crimes Text Line, which enables New Yorkers to report incidents of bias and discrimination through text message, including photo or video attachments. 

People who have experienced or witnessed bias or discrimination are encouraged to text HATE to 81336 with details of the incident, including photos or video. Texts will be monitored by state police. 

The state is also establishing a $5,000 reward for information leading to hate crime convictions.

Cuomo appeared with Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders to discuss efforts to fight what he calls "cowardly, anti-American and anti-New York" acts.

A surge of threats against Jewish organizations have surfaced recently. A Jewish community center in Buffalo was one of 10 evacuated around the country on President's Day amid several bomb threats targeting JCCs. There have been 69 incidents of bias and discrimination at 54 JCCs in 27 states since last month, according to the JCC Association of North America.

Two days after the nationwide JCC evacuations, the Anti-Defamation League's national headquarters in Midtown received an anonymous bomb threat Wednesday. The specific nature of the threat was unclear.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said while there wasn't anything to indicate that the threat was more than that, the group took it "very seriously."

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