BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
In the wake of a presidential election marked by anti-immigrant rhetoric, hate crimes have seen such a rise in the five boroughs that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and city Police Commissioner James O’Neill have created an NYPD unit that focuses specifically on hate crimes.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit group that tracks litigated hate crimes in the United States, has counted 127 incidents of hate harassment and intimidation between Nov. 9 and Feb. 7, with 11 reported in Queens.
In fact, the number of hate crimes in New York City has risen so drastically since Election Day that the NYPD now has a special police unit that focuses on hate-motivated acts.
Last month, the NYPD announced a report that found the number of hate crimes in the five boroughs nearly doubled from the same time period in 2016—totaling 56 hate crimes, compared to last year’s 31 incidents—although the number of incidents in Queens has remained static at four hate crimes.
The rise in hate crimes has seen trends. In November, a majority of hate crimes were perpetrated against the Muslim community, whereas the Latino community had previously been targeted amid President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Following Trump’s recently halted travel-ban executive order and immigration initiatives, hate crimes—many of which involved the defrauding of undocumented persons—mostly targeted the city’s immigrant population. Most recently, there has been an uptick in anti-Semitic acts and threats to Jewish centers.
In Western Queens, several elected officials’ offices and local businesses were recently defaced with hateful graffiti. The office of state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) has been vandalized three times in recent weeks.
“It is clear this bigot is trying to send a message of intolerance to our community, but it will not work,” Gianaris said. “I am confident the NYPD will apprehend the person committing these disturbing acts and I am thankful for their continued efforts. It will take more than a bigot with a magic marker to stop me from fighting for the values of tolerance and inclusiveness.”
The SPLC has created a map that monitors hate groups in every state. These include organizations that discriminate against immigrants, LGBTQ communities, Muslims, Jews and African Americans, as well as chapters of the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups. New York State alone has 47 hate groups.
Although created in 2008, the Alternative Right (Alt-Right) movement has made a surprising transition into the mainstream in the months following the presidential election.
The Alt-Right is a group of individuals who believe in far-right ideologies, such as the belief that the nation’s white population is under attack by multicultural forces using political correctness and social justice as a means to undermine white people.
Last week, James Harris Jackson, a 28-year-old Maryland man, took a bus from Baltimore to New York City with the alleged intent to kill black men. He was indicted on charges of murder as an act of terrorism and a hate crime after he allegedly fatally stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman, a Queens native who grew up in Jamaica. The defendant later told the Daily News that the alleged murder had been a “practice run” and said that “the white race is being eroded.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or email@example.com