N.Y.P.D. Steps Up Patrols After Reports of 8 Anti-Semitic Incidents

The New York Police Department is stepping up patrols in three Brooklyn neighborhoods after a surge of anti-Semitic crimes reported to the police in the last two weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.

Police officers are scheduled to patrol the streets of Borough Park, Crown Heights and Williamsburg, neighborhoods with a large numbers of Jewish residents, where they also plan to visit houses of worship and other “critical areas in the community,” Mr. de Blasio added on Twitter.

“Anti-Semitism is an attack on the values of our city — and we will confront it head-on,” Mr. de Blasio said on Twitter.

The announcement of the increased foot and car patrols comes as the Police Department’s Hates Crimes Task Force investigates eight “alarming” anti-Semitic incidents since Dec. 13, the police said.

The latest two incidents reported to the authorities happened on Friday — both in Crown Heights, the police said. Shortly before 7 a.m., an unidentified man walked into the Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters, approached a member of the Hasidic community and threatened to shoot someone, the police said.

The police were still looking for the man who made the threats, who ran east on Eastern Parkway, toward the Crown Heights-Utica Avenue subway station.

Earlier in Crown Heights, a little after midnight, a woman identified as Tiffany Harris, 30, slapped three women in the face, the police said.

At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said Ms. Harris admitted to slapping the women because she believed they were Jewish. Ms. Harris has been charged with first-degree harassment.

Despite the reports, Crown Heights was humming with pedestrian traffic on Friday afternoon, with Hanukkah underway. Cars and vans playing songs in Yiddish rolled up Kingston Avenue, where families ran errands before sundown.

David Lahainy, a Torah student at the Chabad Lubavitch headquarters, said he had noticed more police officers in the neighborhood.

“We need more,” said Mr. Lahainy, who carried two bouquets of roses from a flower stand that is near a mural of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who died in 1994 and led the Lubavitch Hasidic community based in Crown Heights.

Mr. Lahainy, 26, paraphrased the rabbi’s saying that although Jews should take care of themselves, they cannot live with fear and should trust God.

Anti-Semitic hate crime complaints have increased by 18 percent this year, according to data provided by the Police Department. The department received 214 anti-Semitic hate crime complaints as of Sunday — 32 more than in the same period last year.

“We take every one seriously, whether it’s one or eight,” the police commissioner, Dermot F. Shea, said a news conference on Friday. “I would argue that one is too much.”

Moishe Mindick, a music and Judaism teacher who lives in Crown Heights, said he and his neighbors were taking action. Mr. Mindick, 31, belongs to a WhatsApp group of more than 90 people called Make Crown Heights Safe Again, which he said was organizing patrols in response to the incidents.

“I think people are realizing that that might be part of the problem, that we’re easy targets and people think we don’t stand up for ourselves,” he said.

“You fight darkness with light,” Mr. Mindick added. “But we also live in the real world.”

Others took issue with any suggestion that Crown Heights was under siege. “I am not looking over my shoulder,” Malka Stern, a resident, said.

Evan Bernstein, the Anti-Defamation League’s regional director for New York and New Jersey, said that Mr. De Blasio’s action was a good step, but that more needed to be done to combat anti-Semitism in New York City.

“Policing is important, but it can’t be the only solution,” Mr. Bernstein said. “There needs to be a real plan at the micro and macro level with elected officials, to get to as many young people as possible. No one is born hating. Hating someone is a learned behavior.”

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