New York police are reportedly investigating swastika graffiti found on or near children’s play areas for the second time in three days.
Swastikas were found scrawled in black marker on playground equipment in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood on Monday, two days after chalk swastikas and graffiti reading “Hail Hiter” (sic) were found in a schoolyard in a Jewish neighborhood in Queens, CNN reported Monday.
The NYPD’s hate crime task force is looking into both incidents, the network noted.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) responded to the graffiti on Monday, saying in a statement that he directed state police to help the NYPD investigate.
“Let me be very clear: in New York, we have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and hate of any kind, and no student should ever feel discriminated against or threatened because of their religion or ethnic origin,” he said, according to CNN.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure the perpetrators of these vile acts are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
New York City lawmakers representing the affected areas also spoke out about the graffiti, saying: “Enough is enough.”
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (Brighton Beach) tweeted Monday: “Are swastikas in playgrounds the new normal?”
Are swastikas in playgrounds the new normal?
Last night I was notified of swastikas on play equipment in Brighton Beach. I alerted @NYPD60Pct, who are investigating.
Enough is enough. It’s way past time to #[email protected] please implement Hate Crime Prevention Office! pic.twitter.com/eo0DKa41fA
— Councilman Deutsch (@ChaimDeutsch) February 25, 2019
And Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (Queens) tweeted that she is “horrified, disgusted, and nauseated” by the graffiti found in her neighborhood.
I am horrified, disgusted, and nauseated, to say the least, of what I have witnessed today. Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic slurs were drawn at the PS 139 Playground in Rego Park. I was on the scene today and most of the imagery has been washed away. Enough is enough! pic.twitter.com/vteXmlqQyk
— Karen Koslowitz (@CMKoslowitz) February 22, 2019
The Anti-Defamation League said last year that the U.S. saw a 57-percent increase in acts of harassment, vandalism and violence targeted at the Jewish community. And the French government said this month that anti-Semitic attacks in the country increased by more than 70 percent.
A recent New York Times report, citing police data, found that there were 36 anti-Semitic crimes reported in New York City between Jan. 1 and Feb. 17. By comparison, there were just 21 similar crimes during the same period last year.