NEW YORK (WABC) -- The number of subway hate crimes in New York City has slowed down but remains well ahead of last year.
The NYPD says there have been 68 reported hate crimes so far in 2019. That is up more than 50 percent from the 44 reported at this point in 2018.
During the first three months of this year, the number hate crimes had tripled.
Of 55 graffiti-related incidents in the subway, 39 were anti-Semitic, police said.
"It's basically swastikas being drawn in various places around the subway. sometimes on the train, in the bathroom, sometimes on the pillar in the subway," said NYPD Transit Chief Edward Delatorre. "We have stepped it up, we have really good coordination with our NYC Transit partners. We investigate every single incident. We have put in covert cameras in many places where we have seen repeat events."
MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford released a statement in response to the report:
"The MTA has zero tolerance for attacks on our fellow New Yorkers on the basis of religious faith, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. Hate crimes, including offensive graffiti in subways, are abhorrent and reprehensible. Trains defaced with hate speech are immediately removed from service, and we continue to work with the NYPD to investigate and hold those responsible to the fullest extent of the law."
* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Number of subway hate crimes up from last year, NYPD says