City to increase Brooklyn police patrols in response to anti-Semitic attacks

Commissioner Dermot Shea discusses the arrest of the man accused of a machete rampage in Monsey, NY that targeted members of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish congregation.
Photo by Todd Maisel

Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a plan on Sunday to combat hate crimes in the five boroughs following a string of anti-Semitic attacks in Brooklyn and a machete rampage that wounded five at a rabbi’s home in upstate Monsey Saturday night.

The plan calls for increased police patrols in Jewish communities across the city, with a focus on Williamsburg, Borough Park, and Crown Heights, de Blasio announced at the weekend press conference. 

“This is something that may not have seemed necessary a few years ago but it sure has become necessary recently,” said de Blasio on Sunday. “Today I announce additional NYPD presence… Any hate crime tries to take us backwards, we will not go backwards.”

The announcement follows a series of four holiday assaults in Williamsburg, Crown Heights, and Gravesend since Dec. 23, in which Jewish victims were attacked and endured anti-Semitic slurs.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the suspect in the Monsey attack traveled by car through the 32nd Precinct in Harlem, where he was arrested by two officers after running his plates. 

Shea reported that several NYPD squad cars arrived at the intersection where the suspect was apprehended at gunpoint. The whole encounter lasted 15 seconds, he said.

“It’s a little surreal to be standing here… Days after Jersey City and here we are again having a conversation about hate and intolerance,” Shea said. “Speaking about it after the fact, what we need is to speak about it before it takes place.” 

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said his office will always take action against anti-Semitic attacks, responding to criticism that a new cashless-bail system taking effect Jan. 1 will lead to hundreds of inmates accused of criminal acts out onto the street.

“It’s real, the perception of the lack of safety from the Jewish community is real,” Gonzalez said. “The changes in the law have happened. We will respect the law and move forward, but we will prosecuted these cases.”

Light towers, cameras and more NYPD personnel will be part of the increase in coverage. 

Bail reform will not have an effect on how cases are prosecuted, Shea said; it only effects how accused individuals are held based on their circumstances.