Staten Island is focus of 'Night Out Against Crime'

August 3, 2010 8:33:10 PM PDT
The epidemic of hate crimes on Staten Island drew plenty of attention for this year's National Night Out Against Crime.

"National Night Out Against Crime" could not have come at a more auspicious time.

The Port Richmond section of Staten Island is now choking under a rash of hate crimes against Mexicans.

There have been 10 violent attacks in recent months.

Officials and community leaders are struggling to protect these immigrants.

"An attack against any member of our community is an attack against us all," said one activist.

The Council Speaker Tuesday offered a counter-attack, from better education, to better lights, to security cameras for merchants.

All of that will be in addition to the huge increase in police presence which is very visible on the troubled streets.

"The thing that makes cowards who are full of hate back down, the thing that fills them with fear, that very same kind of fear they want to fill us with, is when people of good will stand up and say no," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The problem is despite all of the extra patrols and all of the rhetoric against bias crimes, Mexicans continue to find themselves in the crosshair of hate.

Just ask 18-year-old Christian Vasquez, the latest victim in a savage beating.

He addressed a youth against violence group Monday night.

"All of the answers are not down here, you look to the left, to the right, to the front to the rear, but we also have to look up, because there is help coming from above," said one resident.

"There's a lot of police right now, once the police leave then they are going to start again," said another community member.