The Guardian Angels, a private, unarmed crime-prevention group, said it would start patrolling New York City’s Brooklyn borough on Sunday following a series of anti-Semitic attacks.
Curtis Sliwa, who founded the organization in 1979 in New York City, said the patrols would start at noon in the Crown Heights neighborhood and expand to Williamsburg and Borough Park later in the day.
The move came hours before five people were wounded in a stabbing attack during a Hanukkah party at a rabbi’s house in upstate New York late Saturday.
The latest incident followed eight attacks on Jews in Brooklyn since Dec. 13, according to the New York Police Department.
The violence included victims being struck in the face, head and back of the head and at least one suspect throwing a beverage at someone, police said.
“These attacks are taking place, and the cops have not been proactive at all,” Sliwa said Saturday. “It comes from City Hall and the mayor. He’s been just apathetic.”
The press office for Mayor Bill de Blasio responded in a statement Saturday, saying, “We have no tolerance for anti-Semitism in New York City.
“The best police department in the world has increased deployment in Crown Heights, Boro Park and Williamsburg, and has launched a new intelligence unit to prevent hate crimes from occurring,” it continued. “We will continue to work hand in hand with the community to keep our city safe.”
Prior to Saturday night’s stabbing, the latest attack occurred Friday when a woman allegedly slapped three females in Brooklyn and later told officers it was because they’re Jewish, police said at a news conference.
The suspect, Tiffany Harris, 30, was charged Saturday with attempted assault as a hate crime, according to court records. She was released without bail.
On Dec. 10, a couple opened fire at a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, and exchanged gunfire with officers. It ended in the deaths the two, a police officer and three people who had been inside the JC Kosher Supermarket.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the attacks “disturbing.”
“This recent spate of hate-fueled crimes is even more disturbing as they occurred during the Hanukkah holiday, a time when Jewish New Yorkers gather to celebrate,” he said in a statement Friday.
Sliwa said local leaders of the Lubavitch Hasidic movement asked for his group’s help, and he believes Guardian Angels patrols will halt the violence.
“We’re a visual deterrence in our red berets and our red satin jackets,” he said. “Nobody’s going to commit an attack when we’re around.”
If they do, he said, “We’ll physically restrain the persons responsible, make a citizen’s arrest, and hold them until the police arrive.”