By COLlive reporter
New York City Council Member Chaim Deutsch, leader of the Jewish Caucus in the City Council, together with Council Member Laurie Cumbo of the Crown Heights district, met with Jewish community activists at the 71st Precinct of the New York Police Department on Tuesday.
Led by Chief Charles Scholl of the Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, the briefing discussed the increased number of anti-Semitic attacks towards identifiable Jews that have taken place over the past few months, and the police response to them, in Crown Heights, Williamsburg and throughout the city.
Deutsch set the tone by talking of the shared concern for the increased number of incidents and of his attempts to try to understand what was driving the uptick in such attacks since this summer.
Cumbo spoke of her determination and that of the entire City Council to support the Police in any way possible to help address the issue and to try to work towards prevention.
71st Precinct Commanding Officer Frank Giordano spoke of the police department’s need to be proactive as well as reactive, and outlined some of the more recent incidents and the Police response to them. This includes both investigating the attacks and arresting the perpetrators, and increased patrols to ensure that there are no more incidents going forward.
Inspector Mark Molinari, Commander of the Hate Crimes Task Force, addressed the city-wide increase in Hate Crimes over the past 3 months or so, with Brooklyn being the most affected and Crown Heights having had more than its share of attacks.
Crown Heights community activist Chanina Sperlin asked about the classification of crimes as being bias-related, while activist Devorah Halberstam spoke passionately about the need for a more visible police presence in Crown Heights. Halberstam said that there have been numerous calls from neighborhood residents who are very worried about their children walking in the streets, going to Shul and school, since the increase in crime.
Crown Heights Jewish Community Council director Eli Cohen expressed a concern that the recent reduction of enforcement by the police has made criminals feel more emboldened to commit violent acts. He urged the political leadership to make sure that the Police are given the right support in combatting crime.
Eli Slavin, a liaison of Congress member Yevette Clarke, asked for details on the different methods that can be used to combat violence.
Evan Bernstein of the ADL spoke of his organization’s work in combating violence and anti-semitism.
Deutsch said he intends on having a follow up meeting about this critical issue, bringing in the voices of the community as well.