Councilmembers meet with Bratton on anti-Semitic crime surge
“It’s shocking that we have not only seen an increase in anti-Semitism but that anti-Semitic crimes make up the largest portion of hate crimes in New York City,” said Councilmember David Greenfield. The troubling surge in attacks on Jews was the topic of a meeting Greenfield and two other Brooklyn council members had with New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton last week.
Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) and Councilmembers Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) and Stephen Levin (D-North Brooklyn) sat down with Bratton and top NYPD officials to get answers as to why the attacks are happening and what can be done to stop the hate crimes.
In 2013, there were 192 recorded hate crimes in New York City, 64 of them anti-Semitic crimes. Greenfield said that the NYPD confirmed that there has been a 50 percent rise of anti-Semitic crimes between the months of July and September of this year as compared to last year.
Greenfield urged Bratton to work on improving communication between precincts and the local community, especially when hate crimes occur, and for the NYPD to be more aggressive in denouncing such crimes. Treyger called for more officers to be put on patrol in neighborhoods with high numbers of hate crimes. Levin suggested focusing on hate groups.
Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Upper West Side), chairman of the council’s Jewish Caucus, submitted questions to Bratton regarding the accuracy of hate crime statistics. He suggested that the NYPD increase the transparency on hate crime reporting. “In order to tackle this crisis, the public needs a full understanding of the scale and scope of anti-Semitic crimes in New York City,” Levine said in a statement.
The NYPD has brought in a former senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to come up with a plan on fighting hate crimes more aggressively.
“It’s very clear that Commissioner Bratton takes our concerns very seriously,” Greenfield said.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Deputy Chief of the NYPD James W. Murtagh, members of the Hate Crime Task Force, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Captain Mark Magrone and Director of Legislative Affairs from the Mayor’s Office Jon Paul Lupo.
Greenfield, Treyger and Levin stressed to Bratton the fear that the attacks have generated Jewish communities in Brooklyn.
“I have been concerned with the rise in bias crimes and other incidents in recent months impacting the safety of neighborhoods across southern Brooklyn. I appreciate Commissioner Bratton’s response to these concerns and willingness to work with us in light of issues like the gun violence that continues to plague some residential areas and the hate crimes we have seen across New York City,” Treyger said.
“Hate crimes have no place in New York City and we must all work together to stamp them out,” said Levin, who called the meeting with Bratton productive.
The meeting came about after Greenfield hosted a rally at City Hall right before Rosh Hashanah with 25 other elected officials. Following that rally Bratton agreed to sit down with council members to discuss ways to reduce hate crimes.
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