NYPD to add hate crime statistics to public crime database
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the addition of hate crime statistics was prompted by recent anti-Semitic attacks in New York and New Jersey
Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In the wake of a pair of anti-Semitic attacks separated by only three weeks in New York and New Jersey, the NYPD announced on Monday that it intends to add hate crimes to its publicly-available crime database — CompStat — for the first time since the stat-tracking site’s inception.
“The best way to fight hate is to shine a light on it,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a press conference Monday.
CompStat, which tracks major crime in the five boroughs, some misdemeanors and also shooting incidents, among other crimes, will include hate crimes within the coming months, Shea said.
“We are going to proceed cautiously,” the commissioner said, noting that there are technical elements that need to be ironed out before hate crimes can be officially added. “It’s probably going to take a few months to get the behind-the-scenes in order,” he said.
Shea, however, was resolute in his intention to make hate crimes a publicly-available crime statistic. “My commitment is that we are going to add it to the CompStat sheet," he said.
The NYPD has previously released hate crime data, but this recent addition will allow hate crimes to be tracked by location and on a rolling basis.
Shea said he has been considering adding hate crimes to the CompStat sheet, but believes that now is "the perfect time” to do so, at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are up 21% in New York City, according to the NYPD.
The rise in anti-Semitic incidents — which will fall within the broader category of hate crimes — is primarily fueled by an increase in aggravated harassment. Shea said on Monday that the majority, about 70%, of anti-Semitic incidents are “driven by swastikas" drawn in public spaces.
The recent announcement comes on the heels of an anti-Semitic shooting in Jersey City that killed a veteran police officer and three people inside of a Kosher Market in early December.
Following the attack, the NYPD unveiled the Racially and Ethnically Motivated Extremism — “REME” — unit, which is “focused on any trends and any signs of racially and ethnically motivated extremism,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Less than three weeks later, a man allegedly stabbed five people in a rabbi’s home in Monsey, N.Y., on the seventh day of Hanukkah. Authorities said the man, who faces five attempted murder charges, searched “Zionist temples of Staten Island” less than two weeks before the attack.
Earlier in 2019, a yeshiva associated with Chabad of Staten Island at the corner of Bradley Avenue and Harold Street was graffitied with the words “Synagogue of Satan,” while another building across the street was spray-painted with the letters “SOS.”
On the same day as Shea’s announcement, the Advance reported that white-supremacist, anti-Semitic fliers were found in New Dorp.
Just a day ago, over 10,000 people marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to fight anti-Semitism.
While Shea said the move is an important step in the department’s transparency, the availability of the data, he hopes, will also spur conversation both inside and outside of the NYPD.
“Anything to bring this to the forefront of what is going on, to get people talking about it … I think is a good idea," Shea said.