Leaders from the NYPD and Jewish community gathered at One Police Plaza on Wednesday for the annual High Holy Days security briefing, during which law enforcement officials spoke of the dramatic increase in hate crimes across the city, and made explicit warnings about the potential for white supremacist violence.
According to NY1, "for the first time in a public forum, the NYPD spoke about what it called white nationalist violence," and their attempts to keep an eye on various hate groups. Police said that 273 hate crimes had been reported so far this year, most of them anti-Semitic. (Last year, there were 328 reported hate crimes through November 13th, up from 250 reported hate crimes for the same time period in 2015.)
— Chief Joanne Jaffe (@NYPDCommAffairs) September 13, 2017
— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) September 13, 2017
— CH Shomrim (@ShomrimCH) September 13, 2017
They also pointed to James Harris Jackson, a white man who allegedly took a bus from Maryland to Manhattan in March to fatally stab Timothy Caughman, as someone who may have been influenced by growing strains of white nationalism across the country.
"There are similarities: They were both radicalized online, they both frequented sites that discussed black-on-white violence and advocated for white supremacy over different minority groups, and they both allegedly penned manifestos," said Meaghan Gruppo, a counterterrorism analyst with the NYPD.
The pre-Rosh Hashana briefings have been held every year since 9/11, and typically involve police officials asking members of the Jewish community to be the NYPD's "eyes and ears" during the High Holy Days season. Several high-ranking members of the shomrim, the controversial Hasidic neighborhood patrol group, were in attendance, along with representatives from the Anti-Defamation League and NYPD Champlain's Unit.
The NYPD also plans to deploy additional resources to Jewish neighborhoods and other potential terrorism targets. Their "Hercules" patrols, or heavily armed counterterrorism units, will make unannounced visits at synagogues across the city.
"It is our mission to make sure nobody in New York City lives their lives in fear," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.