The Troubling Prevalence of Antisemitic Attacks in Brooklyn

The FBI recently reported hate crime data for 2020 showing that Jews remain widely susceptible to attacks. Fifty-eight percent of religiously motivated attacks in 2020 involved Jewish victims, accounting for 9 percent of all hate crimes last year. While those numbers look grim for a group that makes up only about 2 percent of the American population, they actually mark a slight improvement. During pre-pandemic 2019, when more Americans were regularly out and about, 63 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes targeted Jews, making up 13 percent of that year’s total. 

The FBI’s crime statistics offer only a partial picture, though. Not only do they not account for non-criminal antisemitic incidents, they also don’t explain what happens after hate crimes are reported. It takes some time for the justice system to address arrestees, so it’s worth looking back to 2019, the last “normal” year for which data exists. New York City offers a good entry point, since NYPD consistently collects hate crime data.

New Yorkers reported 419 hate crimes to the NYPD in 2019. Of those, 242 incidents, or nearly 58 percent, were antisemitic in nature. And among those 242 reported crimes, 121—exactly half—were Brooklyn-based. 

The true numbers are surely even higher. A 2020 American Jewish Committee report on domestic antisemitism found that 76 percent of American Jews who had experienced antisemitism in the preceding five years never formally reported their experiences.

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