Hate crimes are increasing nationwide, impacting each and every minority community. Several communities of color have reported strings of attacks based on their identity. Weeks after Muslim Americans in New Mexico expressed increased fear due to several incidents of violence, the Jewish community now share the same sentiments in New York.
At least three incidents of violence against the Brooklyn Jewish community have occurred this month in what police call a "hate crime assault pattern.” All three incidents took place in the same neighborhood, which is known as the home of the Satmar Haredi movement. Victims of the attacks were punched, slapped, and sprayed with powder from fire extinguishers. At least one victim was wearing a shtreimel, a traditional fur hat worn on Shabbat and holidays, during an attack.
There were no reports of serious injuries in any of the incidents. Surveillance footage of the incidents were shared on social media.
In one incident, a 72-year-old man said he was approached by a group of individuals, including one who ran up from behind and sprayed him in the face with a fire extinguisher.
A second attack also occurred on Aug. 21 around the same time. During that incident, a 66-year-old man was walking when someone sprayed him with a fire extinguisher and punched him, CBS News reported.
According to CBS News, police arrested a 14-year-old boy Monday and charged him with three counts, including assault as a hate crime in connection to both of those incidents.
New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell said it's believed the victims were targeted because of their Jewish identity.
"No one deserves to be the victim of such senseless hateful violence. No one," Sewell said according to ABC News. The commissioner added that arrests by New York’s Hate Crimes Task Force are up over 100% this year, and arrests by the task force for attacks on Jewish New Yorkers are up by 45%.
The New York Police Department has confirmed 149 anti-Jewish hate crimes between the start of 2022 and June 28, an average of an incident every 29 hours.