The NYPD is set to increase patrols near synagogues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, due to an increase in antisemitic attacks happening throughout the neighborhood.
“In the wake of these senseless attacks, we deployed round-the-clock house of worship cars to routinely visit synagogues,” NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “We increased patrols to visit sensitive locations,” she added.
This increased police presence comes amid a continued rise in hate crimes across the city. On Aug. 21, in two separate incidents, a 72-year-old and a 64-year-old Jewish man were sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher in Williamsburg.
In July 2022, NYPD reported a 50% increase in hate crimes over July 2021, with antisemitic hate crimes up 114%.
United Jewish Organization Chairman Sam Stern said that sometimes a police presence is “hard to see on the streets.”
“We are going to see if they really are more visible,” Stern added. “The fact that [the commissioner] came down and gave us that level of attention, it means that they’re taking it seriously.”
Meanwhile, Williamsburg Jewish Community Council President Rabbi Moishe Indig said he blames the bail reform system, a heated topic within New York City politics. Progressives say the cash bail system unfairly burdens the poor and leaves people more desperate and unstable. Critics of bail reform, meanwhile, say the system keeps violent suspects off the streets. “The police are doing their job,” Indig said. “They lock people up, then a few hours later, the guy is back on the street. If the system is broken, what can the police do?”
He added that while a heavy police presence in front of synagogues is a start, it might not be enough. “There were three hate crimes last week, nothing was in front of a synagogue,” Indig said. “Is this going to help if it’s happening two blocks away from the synagogue? Probably not.”