2 NYC School Playgrounds Defaced with Anti-Semitic Graffiti Within Days

Graffiti found on a school playground in Queens

The New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force has stepped in to help the New York Police Department investigate two incidents of swastikas scrawled on playgrounds as anti-Semitic hate rises around the city.

Two swastikas were drawn with black marker on playground equipment at Brighton Playground in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn sometime overnight Sunday.

This follows last week's defacing of the yard of PS 139 on 63rd Drive between Wetherole and Booth streets in Queens with chalk messages including "Hail [sic] Hitler," "No Jews allow," dozens of swastikas and a Nazi eagle.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the graffiti incidents "disgusting" and "heinous."

"Let me be very clear: in New York, we have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and hate of any kind, and no student should ever feel discriminated against or threatened because of their religion or ethnic origin," Cuomo said Monday.

"New York is a beacon of tolerance and hope, and we will do everything in our power to make sure the perpetrators of these vile acts are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he added.

In 2018, police said there was a 23 percent spike in reported anti-Semitic incidents. Assaults jumped 267 percent -- from three in 2017 to 11 in 2018. Defacing property with swastikas and other aggravated harassment rose 73 percent last year.

The NYPD is also trying to identify a suspect who smashed the glass door of the Chabad of Bushwick synagogue in Brooklyn.

Elsewhere in the state, the Yeshiva Yoreh Deah in White Sulphur Springs, N.Y., was set on fire Jan. 28 and swastikas were spray-painted on the school's walls. The attack is being investigated as a hate crime.