A fatal shooting on Tuesday which left six people dead — including a police officer and two gunmen — brought grief and heartbreak to the Jewish community here at home.
Two assailants targeted a kosher supermarket in Jersey City. The three people gunned down inside the store included two Williamsburg natives.
"A few hundred bullets went into a 24-year-old child, how can we as a community bear that?" said Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, and a prominent leader in the city's Jewish community.
De Blasio, top police officials and Jewish leaders gathered at City Hall on Wednesday. He called the Jersey City attack an act of terror.
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"Now we have seen this extraordinary, extreme form of violence reach the door step of New York city," de Blasio said.
Police officials said there's concern for a copycat event here in New York City, but encouraged New Yorkers to go about their day.
Police data suggest hate is in fact on the rise.
In the last year, there's been a sharp increase in hate crimes, with a troubling rise in anti-Semitic offenses. There's been a 22 percent increase this year alone, and a total of 214 complaints so far, compared to 176 at the same time last year.
De Blasio announced the creation of new hate crime unit — the R.E.M.E. squad — short for "Racially and Ethnically Motivated Extremism," which will be tasked with identifying any trends so the crimes can be prevented before they happen.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the current level of discourse is troubling to law enforcement.
"I think it’s systematic of what we’re seeing in society, just a basic lack of respect. Are there undercurrents of what are happening in other parts of the country? Clearly," Shea said.
"It’s just clear there’s more division, there’s more hatred, it’s getting more permission," de Blasio added.
Mayor de Blasio and police officials stressed there is no credible threat to the city at this time. The NYPD is however increasing its presence at houses of worship and in Jewish communities.