By COLlive staff
Photos: Shimi Kutner
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today the creation of new multi-ethnic interfaith Neighborhood Safety Coalitions, increased NYPD presence, and new Department of Education lesson plans and curriculum as part of the City’s commitment to the prevention of hate crimes and anti-Semitic attacks. In addition to an immediate increased NYPD presence, the new Neighborhood Safety Coalitions will have physical presences in the community with neighborhood safety walks and corner watches. They will also offer ongoing programming designed to promote tolerance and break down stereotypes.
“Fearing the next act of terror will not become the new normal for our Jewish neighbors. In New York City, diversity is our strength and we respect the traditions of all who call New York City home. Intolerance will never take hold here,” said Mayor de Blasio.
Increased NYPD Patrols and Safety Measures
The NYPD will increase resources and patrols to precincts in Borough Park, Midwood, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Williamsburg. Each precinct will have an additional 4 to 6 officers per tour. In addition to an increased NYPD presence at houses of worship and during local events, six new light towers will be posted in Borough Park and additional security cameras will be installed throughout these neighborhoods. 15 light towers have already been installed this month.
Neighborhood Safety Coalitions
Neighborhood Safety Coalitions will launch in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Borough Park, and will be overseen by the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. These individual coalitions will identify and address issues that drive hate-based crimes, bringing together stakeholders from across their communities. They will meet community members where they are — in schools, on street corners, in religious institutions — to be a regular presence to deter acts of hate.
Each coalition will gather regularly to strategize about ways to interrupt hate acts before they happen. The coalitions will identify and offer programming within their neighborhoods that foster community and connect directly with local youth in and after school hours.
The coalitions are based on a successful model already used by residents in East Flatbush and Williamsburg/Bushwick through the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence, in which community groups, neighborhood leaders, and clergy have worked together with local police precincts to dramatically reduce gun violence in their communities.
The DOE is committed to ensuring schools are welcoming, inclusive environments for all students and will be implementing hate crime awareness programming next month for middle and high schools in Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park, including workshops with community partners and leveraging existing social studies curricula and resources. Curriculum on hate crimes will be launched at middle and high schools in these neighborhoods beginning in the 2020-21 school year. These curriculum resources will also be available to middle and high schools citywide.
Citywide, the DOE will distribute resources to facilitate important conversations in the classroom in January, and the annual Respect for All week in February will focus on preventing and addressing hate crimes. Schools are encouraged to develop opportunities for students to discuss what discrimination and religious intolerance might look like in a school and collectively explore the positive actions they can take to promote acceptance, inclusion, and the diversity of their communities.
Citywide Advertising Campaign
The City will launch a series of advertising and social media campaigns to highlight the City’s diversity and encourage respect for all communities.
“The NYPD stands with members of the Jewish community. We will continue our increased patrols and the targeted deployment of Counterterrorism officers at key locations to ensure that everyone is safe,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “We also need the public’s help—if you see anything suspicious, call 911 or flag down a police officer right away. There is no place for hate in NYC, or anywhere.”
“Safety, for every community, remains the City’s highest priority. The Neighborhood Safety Coalitions announced today are grounded in the strength of New Yorkers themselves, working together to prevent the acts that hurt us all. This neighborhood-based work is key to us remaining true to who we are: a safe city that celebrates diversity and condemns hate,” said Liz Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Ofﬁce of Criminal Justice.
“A critical part of our work is engaging directly with the communities impacted by anti-Semitism,” said Deborah Lauter, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. “The neighborhood coalitions will help further New York City’s commitment to diversity and respect for all and ensure every New Yorker feel safe in their community.”
“Schools are safe havens, and all students deserve a learning environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and free from discrimination. We’ll be providing programming and resources to schools in order for students and school communities to engage in thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and to advance learning about hate crimes through historical context and current events. We look forward to partnering with city agencies and community organizations on this critical work. There is no place for hate in our schools,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
“These further actions by Mayor DeBlasio are necessary and helpful as an urgently needed response to the appalling spate of anti-Semitic attacks in and around New York City. I spoke earlier today with the FBI and urged them to work with NYPD and other law enforcement to fully investigate the series of hate crimes and to decipher if there is any connection between them. I will work with the mayor and community leaders to face down this hate and to protect all New Yorkers from unacceptable threats,” said Senator Chuck Schumer.