The New York Police Department announced Wednesday a 31 percent increase in hate crimes in New York City as a nationwide surge in violence against minorities has been linked to Donald Trump's presidential campaign and victory.
"As of Nov. 13, 2016 there have been 328 hate crimes year-to-date compared to 250 during the same time period in 2015," an NYPD spokesperson told International Business Times.
Muslims were targeted over 100 percent more compared with the previous year, from 12 incidents in 2015 to 25 so far this year. Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose slightly from 102 to 111. New York City is home to somewhere between 600,000 and 1 million Muslims and over 1 million Jews.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said police would pursue all hate crimes. "There's been a lot of rhetoric, but this is New York City, and we're much better than that, and we won't tolerate these crimes. We have the best hate crime investigators in the United States of America. So if you're going to engage in behavior like this, make, rest assured that you'll be arrested as quickly as possible and we'll work with our prosecutors to make sure that you're fully prosecuted under the hate crimes statutes," O'Neill said in a press conference.
In August, New York City resident Oscar Morel was charged with shooting dead Imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin in broad daylight in the borough of Queens. In September, a man who set fire to a woman wearing traditional Muslim clothing in Midtown Manhattan.
Beyond New York City, the latest annual hate crime report by the FBI revealed a 67 percent increase nationwide in hate crimes against Muslims between 2014 and 2015. This was the highest jump in anti-Muslim hate crime since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The report also indicated a six percent increase in overall hate crime nationwide.
More recently, reports of hate crimes have surged since Election Day, with some fearing that individuals and groups are using Trump's electoral success as a platform for racist and bigoted behavior. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday he was investigating two incidents involving swastikas, one at a baseball field in Buffalo with the words "Make America White Again" and one in a Manhattan dorm room next beside the word "Trump."
“We witnessed a sharp jump in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide last year, with that spike in Islamophobia continuing through 2016 and accelerating after the Nov. 8 election,” Robert McCaw, government affairs director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Monday in a press statement. “This unprecedented increase in bigotry of all kinds must be repudiated in the strongest terms possible by all our nation’s leaders, beginning with President-elect Donald Trump.”