By Bill Parry
City Councilman Rory Lancman is urging the city to take the rise in white supremacist violence seriously, and treat those hate groups as domestic terrorist organizations.
Lancman’s comments came at a Nov. 20 City Council hearing that examined how the city is combating white supremacist hate crimes following the rise of alt-right violence and the Proud Boys assaults in October. Members of the NYPD were also asked about the strategies they’re employing to keep New Yorkers safe.
The NYPD reported that there have already been more than 300 hate crimes in 2018, a slight increase from 2017, while the number of antisemitic hate crimes has increased by 18 percent.
“I am concerned that as we hear about the strategies, technologies and manpower being dispatched to uncover plots by international terrorists who want to do us harm, that we do not have that same focus and intensity on domestic terrorists,” Lancman said. “That is what these people need to be viewed as: domestic terrorists. They are not just random individuals with dangerous ideas.”
Lancman, who announced his candidacy for Queens district attorney in September, reiterated his call for the city to support a citywide Nonprofit Security Grant Program initiative he proposed in 2015 to provide religious and cultural institutions that are credible targets of violence with funds to protect themselves.
“The state and federal government have funding streams available for non-profit institutions at-risk of an attack, but the city has refused to make the same commitment,” Lancman said. “In light of what so many communities are experiencing, I think it is time for New York City to join New York State and the federal government in providing support to institutions that are right now scrambling to come up with resources needed to protect themselves.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr