NYPD: Young people attacking strangers in Borough Park

BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police in Brooklyn are investigating a string of possible assaults in Borough Park, and while it's unclear if the incidents are related or motivated by hate, many in the area say it is indicative of increased violence.

The incidents mostly involved youths being chased by people in cars, including one case in which two people who were walking down the sidewalk were attacked -- one of them punched -- by a person who jumped out of a car at 14th Avenue and 48th Street.

"It's very scary," one resident said. "I don't even go out in Borough Park at night."

Other similar incidents are alleged to have happened at 14th Avenue at 51st Street and New Utrecht Avenue at 53rd Street, all three on Friday and all dealing another blow to the community.

"I just see it as an uptick of some kind of violence," another resident said. "I hope it's going to fade away quickly."

The neighborhood watch group The Borough Park Shomrim posted videos of the incidents.

All three victims are Orthodox, and while they are not believed to be bias attacks at this point, the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is involved in the investigation.

"We will never tolerate hate in our city in any form," the department said in a statement. "The NYPD has the largest Hate Crime Task Force in the country, comprised of the best hate crime investigators that work tirelessly with our patrol officers, detective squads and community leaders to vigorously investigate every reported hate crime."

In the 51st Street incident, a camera caught a group getting out of a car and chasing a man they then assaulted.

"We're not interested in fights," Israel Yisroeltwersky said. "We want to help everybody. That's the real truth about us."

Two teenagers were chased near New Utrecht Avenue, but they escaped.

"We've never had this in the neighborhood, because it's very heavily patrolled by the police and they also have their own patrol," Evelyn Roth said. "They're very safe and insulated."

Then, just after midnight Sunday near 55th Street and 14th Avenue, a 16-year-old told police a group in a car tried to lure him inside.

"Look, it's hard, it's very hard," Yisroeltwersky said. "We feel unsafe, but we believe everything is in God's image."

The investigations are ongoing.

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