Gov. Hochul steps up anti-terror efforts in wake of threats against Jews and Muslims
Governor Kathy Hochul is stepping up anti-terrorism efforts in New York, in response to a rise in hate crimes and growing incidents of harassment, following the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.
Hochul said she’s upping staffing to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and will allocate $2.5 million to the State Police to add 10 more investigators to New York City, Buffalo, Rochester and Albany. Hochul said the actions come after investigations of bias-related incidents increased by 124 percent in October, with a more than 200 percent spike in anti-Jewish incidents.
“We have determined that the rising level of hate and antisemitism in particular, poses a clear and present danger to the safety and wellbeing of all New Yorkers,” Hochul said. “As governor, I am doing everything in my power to fight back.”
Hochul said she’s trying to avoid major transit disruptions during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, after pro-Palestinian protesters briefly shut down Grand Central Station on Friday. She’s also deployed the State Police to synagogues, yeshivas, mosques and other places that could be susceptible to hate crimes or violence.
The governor spoke after a meeting with the state’s top anti-terrorism experts. State Police Lt. Col. Andrew Crowe said officers are investigating a number of cases.
“I can't talk about particular individual investigations,” said Crowe. “But I can tell you that the number has increased exponentially since Oct. 7, of the number of investigations we're involved in as an entity of the State Police and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
State police arrested and chargeda Cornell University student who made violent threats against Jewish students on campus.
Crowe said law enforcement is also using special software to monitor social media sites, and to try to counter hate speech there, and flag potentially violent threats.
Hochul, who said she hasn’t seen so many incidences of hate related threats and crimes since after 9/11, said the state has already set up a hotline to report bias related incidents. The number is 844-NO-2-HATE or people can access an online form to report incidents. She urged New Yorkers to use it.
“Here in New York City, we've had a huge spike in antisemitic incidents. I know that they're underreported, hate crimes against Muslims are also being underreported,” the governor said. “We need the public to step forward. If you've been violated, you've been harassed, physically (or) verbally, you have to let us know, so we can step up and protect you.”
Hochul has also been meeting with Jewish and Muslim leaders. She spoke at the American Jewish Committee Board of Governors meeting on Sunday night.