The NYPD and Jewish community leaders are responding to the rise in anti-Semitic crimes across the city. Local organizations hosted a forum at the Sea View JCC to address what the Jewish community can do. NY1's Thabie Sibanda filed the following report.
In a closed door seminar Monday night, the NYPD joined forces with Jewish community leaders to address a spike in hate crimes against the community.
"There's only one way to fight hate and that's get together as one unit and kick it back," said Scott Maurer, the CEO of Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO) on Staten Island.
In recent months, the city has seen a 189 percent increase in hate crimes. On Staten Island, there have been four since January, compared to just one the same time last year.
Three of the four directed towards the Jewish Community Center. Leaders have received more than a dozen calls daily from concerned citizens.
"People wanted to discover…what is the root cause for the spike in the hate crimes, and how to better attack that root cause, to combat it to improve the situation," said Maurer.
That's why they put together this hate crime education, awareness and response seminar.
"A repeating question was, What can we do? What can we do? And the answer every time is, 'See something, say something, hear something, [and] say something,'" said Mendy Mirocznik, the president of COJO.
The seminar also educated the community on how law enforcement is handling the cases.
"The NYPD is capable of working us through this and the people who are feeling fear and concern over this need to know that they're not alone," said Staten Island Borough Commander Chief Edward Delatorre.
"We also want the larger community to understand that when an act like this happens to a Jew, it happens to all of us," said Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon.
The sense of unity was a resounding theme.
"[The] thing that I thought was real impressive tonight [was] I saw a lot of leaders from outside of the Jewish community," said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. "I think there's a great weight when you stand up and you push back at hate that's not directed at your particular community."
Leaders from other faiths who have been victims to hate crimes were also there.
"When we show the solidarity, when we stand for each other, I believe this big, beautiful picture of New York will be seen much better," said Imam Tahir Kukiqi.
Leaders hope vigilance will also help stop a hate crime before it even happens.