Amid a spate of hate crimes and bomb threats against Jewish groups, City Council members are asking for $ 25 million to offer grants for increased security for cultural institutions.
“We are responding to a dramatic increase in hate crimes in New York City,” said Councilman Mark Levine, chair of the Jewish Caucus, which is making the request to Mayor de Blasio along with a group of other pols. “The need is sadly more glaring.”
The cash would be available to community centers, advocacy groups, and cultural and religious institutions that may be under threat. It would also be available for Muslim and LGBT organizations, as well as others.
Organizations could use the money to hire security guards or make physical upgrades like adding security cameras, lighting, bullet proof glass, and more secure locks.
Hate crimes are up 113% so far this year compared to the same period in 2016, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Tuesday — driven by an alarming spike in anti-Semitic incidents, to 55 compared to 19 last year.
De Blasio visited the Staten Island JCC Tuesday to denounce the threats.
There are state and federal programs to fund security at schools and daycare centers at risk of being targeted in hate crimes. “That leaves cultural institutions, community centers, advocacy groups of the type that have been targeted repeatedly with nowhere to turn for help in meeting their security needs,” Levine said.
“It’s not enough to have a patrol officer come by a couple times a day, as critical as that it.”
The NYPD has said it is increasing officer presence at houses of worship across the city.
“The NYPD investigates all threats and hate crimes and does a first-rate job of keeping our community centers and cultural institutions safe from violence. Local precinct commanders work closely with staff and community leaders to make determinations on whether, when and how to step up security,” said de Blasio spokesman Austin Finan.