A Queens lawmaker wants the city to help religious and community institutions secure themselves after a reported rise in hate crimes and attacks.
On the steps of City Hall on March 9, Councilman Rory Lancman, who represents areas including Jamaica, Fresh Meadows and Briarwood, asked the city to fund a $25 million security grant to ensure the safety of Jewish, Muslim and other community institutions.
The request follows an NYPD crime statistics report on March 1 that said that the city has recorded 24 hate crimes in 2017, which marks a 55 percent spike since the same time last year. In addition, 17 of the 24 crimes were anti-Semitic — a 94 percent increase from 2016 in those types of incidents.
The federal government and New York State currently fund programs that are meant to protect at-risk schools and daycare centers. Lancman, along with Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine, chair of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus, and other community leaders, called for the creation of a similar, city-funded security grant program to assist community centers, cultural institutions and advocacy organizations considered at-risk because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.
“I am proud today to stand with my colleagues in the City Council to call on the city to make this crucial investment in a Security Grant program that will help protect at-risk locations,” Lancman said. “In the face of rising anti-Semitism and hate crimes in New York City, we must take action to best ensure the security of at-risk NYC community centers and cultural institutions. The security grant program will be an essential resource to keep New Yorkers safe.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Members and leaders from the 92nd Street Y, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Met Council and the Jewish Community Relations Council also were in attendance.
“Our historical moment calls not for retreat but for bold response, expansion of educational opportunities, and inclusivity,” said Michael S. Glickman, president and CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “As an institution that protects the historical record, promotes understanding of heritage, and stands with vulnerable groups in the name of humanity, we applaud the City Council for its efforts to address and strengthen the infrastructure and preparedness of similar institutions across this great city.”
“We can’t just sit by while we see more and more hate crimes and bomb threats targeted at religious centers,” said Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents areas of Far Rockaway and Laurelton. “We must come together as a city and be proactive in protecting local institutions that help foster peace in our communities only a daily basis.”