A Marine Park church was vandalized last month in what police have now deemed a hate crime.
A group of people walked up to St. Columba Roman Catholic Church on Kimball Street at about 2:45 a.m. on Jan. 27 and attempted to gain entry, according the Diocese of Brooklyn. The vandals were unsuccessful — but damaged the outside of the church before fleeing the scene.
John Quaglione, Deputy Press Secretary for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said the suspects smashed a stained-glass window and repeatedly tried to remove a large cross from an exterior wall — ultimately leaving the cross with several punctures at the base.
“Due to the nature of the damage, this incident has been designated a ‘hate crime’ and, as such, is a disgraceful act by these persons and an affront to every Parishioner of our Faith Community and the citizenry of our City,” St. Columba said in a Facebook post.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident, and has asked the public for assistance identifying the alleged perpetrators.
In 2022, the most recent year for which complete data is available, eight hate crimes were reported in the 63rd Precinct, where St. Columba is located, according to NYPD statistics, but none were anti-Catholic. A total of 12 anti-Catholic incidents were reported citywide in 2022.
However, Brooklyn has seen a number of anti-Christian incidents over the last few years — last summer, a man was arrested for allegedly spray-painting a statue of Mary, the Blessed Mother, at Resurrection Church in Gerritsen Beach. In 2021, vandals beheaded a statue of baby Jesus outside the offices of the Brooklyn Diocese in Windsor Terrace just days after a crucifix was toppled and an American flag burned at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst.