The NYPD is reporting a “spike” in bias crimes in New York City since Donald Trump was elected president. Some thirteen swastikas — the sinister symbol of Nazi Germany — have been reported citywide, including some referencing the Republican victor, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Friday.
And there have been a spate of verbal attacks against Muslims, Boyce said.
“I don’t think he has anything to do with the swastikas,” Boyce said, when asked if Trump’s caustic campaign rhetoric may have fueled the bias crimes.
Police Hate Crime investigators are now looking into the incidents but so far no arrests have been made, he said.
Trump has called for a ban on Muslim immigration and his campaign has condemned the anti-Semitic outburst one of his supporters directed at reporters. He has also sought to distance himself from the endorsements of white supremacists like David Duke.
But Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist resulted in a backlash because as head of Breitbart News he provided a forum for the “alt right,” a term which has sometimes been associated with the white nationalist movement. Bannon said in an article in The Hollywood Reporter published Friday denied critics’ claims. “I’m not a white nationalist, I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist,” he said.
The NYPD is aggressively investigating the reports of bias crimes, Boyce said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced a statewide hotline to report incidents of bias an intimidation.
“To those who think they can intimidate our fellow New Yorkers through racism or anti-Semitism I have one message: Don’t count on it,” Cuomo said in a statement this week after a swastika with the word “Trump” was reported at a residence hall at SUNY Geneseo.
New York City has seen an increase in bias crimes of about 31 percent over last year, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said.
There have been 25 bias crimes against Muslims this year from 12 last year at the same time, and there have been 111 bias crimes against Jewish victims so far this year compared to the same period last year, O’Neill said.
“There has been a lot of rhetoric, but this is New York City and were much better than that, and we won’t tolerate these crimes,” he said.
“We have the best hate crime investigators in the United States of America,” O’Neill said. “So if you’re going to engage in behavior like this rest assured you’ll be arrested as quickly as possible and we’ll work with our prosecutors to make sure that you’re fully prosecuted under the hate crime statues.”