The NYPD tasked a group of five community leaders to review suspected biased crimes, as reported hate crimes doubled.

What You Need To Know

  • Reported hate crimes doubled this year to 503 as of Dec. 5 

  • There were 249 arrests in these cases 

  • The NYPD tasked a civilian panel to review more than a hundred cases potentially motivated by bias 

 “Don’t ever forget the victims in this and the trauma these cases inflict," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a news conference at 1 Police Plaza.

They looked into more than 100 cases this year.

“We saw crimes committed by individuals with mental health issues from heinous assaults to vandalism," Devorah Halberstam, chair of the panel, said.

In two of them that the NYPD deemed non-bias crimes — a partially drawn swastika on a pole outside a home, and one swastika drawn in a doctor's office, both in Brooklyn — they decided should be labeled as bias crimes.

"Clearly, it walked like a duck, it looked like a duck, and we decided unanimously that this was a swastika," Halberstam said.

"It’s an exchange of information — what do you feel, what do you see? In These two particular cases, I think we all agree the swastika that wasn’t completed, it was a swastika, it should have been a hate crime, so we learn, that’s what this panel is about," NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

The five-member civilian review panel looked at bias and non-bias cases this year, all while reported hate crimes in the city doubled.

As of Dec. 5 there were 503 reported hate crimes this year, and 249 arrests.

Of the groups that saw large increases in cases over the year, there were 129 bias crimes against Asians, 183 anti-Semitic bias crimes, and 85 bias crimes targeting the LGBT community.

"When people experience economic stress or a plague, a majority of people tend to blame a class of people," said Jennifer Wu, an attorney for hate crime victims.

Shea offered this explanation: "You’re dealing with incarceration levels that have been driven down — do we expect all of those people to abide by every single law and be model citizens?" he said.