By Victoria Merlino
With hate crimes on the rise citywide, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will open this summer, a few months ahead of its original opening date in November.
The office will operate within the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and serve to coordinate hate crime responses by city agencies, district attorney’s offices, the NYPD and other stakeholders.
“In New York City, we celebrate and uphold our differences and reject any attempt to hate or divide,” said de Blasio in a statement. “The Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes will work to root out hate and make our streets safer, which is why we’re moving up the timeline and opening the office months ahead of schedule. We will never stand idly by while our fellow New Yorkers are targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or any other quality that makes them who they are.”
The office will also sponsor NYPD training, public education campaigns and preventive measures in communities. The NYPD training will help address concerns of immigrant, LGBTQ and other groups to potentially ease reporting a hate crime.
Hate crimes increased in the city by 64 percent since last year, with anti-Semitic hate crimes accounting for 60 percent of all report hate crimes, according to data from the NYPD cited by the Mayor’s Office.
Queens has seen several high-profile hate crimes in the last year, including a man breaking a 20-year-old woman’s spine on the E train last December after he saw her woman kiss a woman, and a Queens man allegedly attacking and yelling a slur at two gay men leaving a bar, leaving them with broken bones.