Senior officials of New York City came to Crown Heights this week to update the community on the city and police response to recent assaults in the community and hate crimes around the city.
The meeting was a follow-up to the Mayor’s speech in Midwood the week before, where he stated emphatically that the city will not tolerate anti-Semitism.
The city was represented by First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Liaison Unit Marco Carrion, whose office coordinated the meeting.
NYPD Chief of Patrol, Rodney Harrison, went into detail about the additional patrols and community visits that the Police Department is providing to prevent these assaults.
The Commander of NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, Mark Molinari, described the types of crimes and criminals involved and the work his office does to identify perpetrators. He emphasized that the attacks are not organized. Rather each attacker is acting alone. Most of the crimes have been solved and he works with the DA to get the best possible case for convictions.
Chief Jeffrey Maddrey of Brooklyn Patrol Borough North and Chief Brian Conroy Brooklyn Patrol Borough South spoke about their response to suspected hate crimes and echoed the seriousness with which the Police Department viewed such cases. They also spoke of the work of Community Affairs Officers and Neighborhood Coordinating Officers in working in the community to make residents feel safe and to try to promote a better understanding and eliminate such crimes.
Precinct Commanders Inspector Frank Giordano and Inspector John Buttacavoli highlighted their work gathering community leaders, addressing community concerns and highlighting cases where non-Jewish community members were able to assist the police in making quick arrests. They also praised the work of Shmira and Shomrim volunteer patrol groups in assisting the Police Officers, especially with collecting video, and locating witnesses.
Community members were then given an opportunity to ask questions. Rabbis Eli Cohen, Chanina Sperlin, Levi Plotkin, Shea Hecht, as well as Mrs. Devorah Halberstam, JJ Katz, and Mendy Hershkop all participated in the discussion.
They expressed residents’ concerns that everyone needs to feel safe walking around in the community. Everyone present agreed that the police should continue intensified patrols until there are no more hateful incidents in the community.
A moment of silence was held to honor the memory of Ari Halberstam HY”D, whose 25th yartzeit was on Thursday.
Geoffrey Davis spoke of efforts that he has undertaken, together with Rabbi Cohen of the Community Council, to go into the public schools and Yeshivos and talk to young people about the violence. Several other speakers also addressed different solutions, including Pia Raymond, Carl Cohen, James Caldwell, Roger Green, and Amy Ellenbogen.