The police in New York City are searching for vandals who scrawled “Hamas” and antisemitic graffiti on several Upper East Side apartment buildings last month amid a sharp increase in hate crimes directed at the Jewish community.
The neighborhood includes a substantial Jewish population. The vandalism, which the police are investigating as a hate crime, was first reported by The Daily News.
The New York Police Department said the incident occurred on Oct. 9, two days after Hamas fighters in Israel killed more than 1,000 people and captured more than 200.
There has been a rise in antisemitic and other bias crimes since the start of the war, placing both Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers on edge. Total hate crimes in New York City in October were more than double the levels for the previous October, and anti-Jewish incidents more than tripled.
Overall, there were 101 bias incidents in the city last month, of which 69 were directed against Jews, according to the police department. There were eight hate crimes against Muslims, compared with zero last October. For the year so far, hate crimes in the city are down almost 10 percent.
Earlier this week, New York lawmakers introduced a bill expanding the range of offenses that can be prosecuted as hate crimes and closing loopholes in existing laws. The legislation responds to what State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal called “an unprecedented rise in bias-motivated crimes against Jewish, Muslim, Asian American and L.G.B.T.Q. people.”