Police: NYC sees uptick in anti-Semitic bias attacks as overall crime declines

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Year to date, crime continues to decline in New York City, but this month, New York City saw a notable uptick in hate crimes, particularly those targeting Jewish communities, the NYPD said.

Police reported a total of 309 hate crimes from January to October, compared to 297 in 2017. Of the 309 hate crimes this year, 159 were anti-Semitic in nature, a disturbing trend in light of the Pittsburgh synagogue attacks, said NYPD Commissioner O'Neill.

"None of it, none of it will ever be tolerated in New York City ... everybody in NYC and our nation should pay attention to what happened in Pittsburgh and understand it should never happen in our nation," he said.

WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD hold crime stats briefing

O'Neill highlighted the increased reports of swastikas in the five boroughs. Just this week, two suspects were arrested for allegedly drawing swastikas on Brooklyn Heights homes, and another man was arrested in connection with hateful messages found inside a found inside a Prospect Heights synagogue.

Officials also noted the potential anti-Semitic crimes involving teens in Bedford-Stuyvesant over the weekend. Police said within a period of 45 minutes, a metal pipe was thrown through a synagogue window, a Jewish boy's hat was knocked off and a young Jewish girl was knocked to the ground.

The second most popular motivation in New York City bias crimes this year was sexual orientation, with 40 incidents reported so far.

Thirty-seven anti-black attacks were reported, and most recently, police are searching for those responsible for the racist graffiti sprawled across the African Burial Ground National Historic Monument in Lower Manhattan.

In response to these attacks, Chief Thomas Galati said they NYPD is tracking white supremacy, anti- Semitic and neo-Nazi hate groups.

Total crime, however, continues to decline, and overall index crimes are down 1.4 percent, which represents 1,149 fewer victims, the NYPD reported. If this trend continues, 2018 could set a new record-setting low of 97,000 total index crimes in New York City.

Twelve fewer murders were reported in October 2018 (17) compared to October 2017 (29). Sixteen percent more rapes, however, were reported in October 2018 (160) compared to October 2017 (152), and the NYPD continues to encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward.

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