Funding will Boost Safety and Security at Non-Public Schools and Cultural Centers That May be Targets for Potential Hate Crimes
Follows First Round Awards Totaling $14.8 Million That Funded Over 300 Projects Statewide
Amid a rash of hate crimes in New York and across the country, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $10 million has been awarded to make security enhancements at non-public schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions, to protect against the threat of hate crimes. This is the second round of funding distributed through New York's Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program and will support 207 projects. Round one included $14.8 million in grants that funded more than 300 projects. Projects will help strengthen security measures to prevent hate crimes or attacks against facilities on the basis of their culture, religion or beliefs. Governor Cuomo secured an additional $25 million in the 2019 state budget to extend this program another year.
"The cancer of hate and division spreading across this country is repugnant to the values of diversity and inclusion we hold dear in New York," Governor Cuomo said. "We are continuing to do everything we can to stamp out threats and acts of violence targeting religious and cultural institutions, and this new grant funding will allow many of these organizations to enhance their security measures and help keep people safe."
Hate crime statistics indicate a surge of anti-Semitism and hate crimes against the Jewish community, nationally and in New York. Nearly half of all hate crimes in New York over the last several years have been against the Jewish community. The October 27, 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the recent terror attack at a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, in which a local Yeshiva and Catholic school faced gunfire, underscore the need to protect Jewish institutions from violent extremism and anti-Semitism.
The grant, which is administered by the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, will provide up to $50,000 in funding for additional security training, cameras, door-hardening, improved lighting, state-of-the-art technology and other related security upgrades at each eligible facility. Organizations that operate more than one facility have the opportunity to submit up to three applications for a total request of up to $150,000. First round awards were made in 2018.
The program was announced in October 2017 by Governor Cuomo and is part of an extensive effort launched by the Governor to combat hate crimes in New York. The Hate Crimes Task Force was created last year to mitigate recent incidents of bias-motivated threats, harassment and violence in New York. As part of the Task Force, New York State Police, the Division of Human Rights and the Division of Criminal Justice Services engage local stakeholders and law enforcement agencies, and work to identify and investigate hate-motivated crimes and bias-related trends, community vulnerabilities and discriminatory practices.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Acting Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "Diversity is at the core of what makes New York, New York, and we must do everything possible to ensure our communities are protected against those who seek to divide us and spread hate. I applaud Governor Cuomo's leadership for not only launching this critical program to protect vulnerable institutions, but for ensuring its continued health in this year's State Budget."
Governor Cuomo has also established a telephone hotline and text line through the Division of Human Rights to report incidents of bias and discrimination, as well as a dedicated Hate Crimes Unit within State Police. Texts are monitored by the State Police, who handle all criminal matters. Cases of discrimination that are covered by the New York State Human Rights Law may be further investigated by the Division of Human Rights. A $5,000 reward is also being made available for any information leading to arrests and convictions for hate crimes.
All New Yorkers who have experienced bias or discrimination are encouraged to call DHR's toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday or text "HATE" to 81336. If you seek to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter and Instagram or visit dhses.ny.gov.