The following is a message from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:
In a push to punish those responsible for hate crimes, including the latest epidemic of anti-Semitic crimes plaguing our community, as a member of the Assembly’s Codes Committee, I called on the City’s District Attorneys to immediately seek the maximum penalty for defendants accused of hate crimes and asked Judges to impose the maximum sentence allowed upon conviction.
We are seeing an increase in the frequency of anti-Semitic incidents. Those who commit these abominable crimes must realize that there is a real penalty to pay for their actions. Most of these offenses are property-based, but the recent physical assault upon a Jewish man walking home from Sabbath services, by teens who hit him in the face and shouted derogatory epithets about his obviously religious appearance, highlights the critical need for harsher penalties.
Those who choose to act on the hatred in their hearts must know that they can expect to receive the maximum penalty that our Penal Code allows. We need to show the perpetrators of these offensive acts that there is no place for their hatred in our civilized society. We as legislators intended that the penalty for the commission of a hate crime be harsher than other crimes.The judiciary must now use its power to carry out our legislative intent.
I am working with law enforcement officials in an effort to swiftly bring those who commit these and other hate crimes to justice. As the son of Holocaust survivors and a representative of one of the largest populations of Holocaust survivors, I am concerned over the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services’ annual “Hate Crimes in New York State” report, showing a 27 percent increase of hate crimes throughout New York City (350), while hate crimes in New York State dropped by 14 percent. The 2011 report also revealed that Jews were the most frequent targets of hate crimes and that, nearly 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, swastikas are still being placed on property throughout New York State. (Please see below a copy of a letter sent to our Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. Also note similar letters were sent to all our Borough’s District Attorneys).
Copy of My Letter To District Attorney Hynes:
Hon. Charles Hynes
350 Jay Street
Dear District Attorney Hynes,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the increasing frequency of anti-Semitic incidents occurring throughout Brooklyn and the rest of New York City. Currently, I am working with the local precincts in my community to see that those who commit such heinous crimes are rightfully and swiftly brought to justice. I would like to call upon you, as the District Attorney of Brooklyn, to use the powers of your office to seek the maximum sentence allowed for those individuals convicted of a hate crime in the borough.
A recent report issued by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services showed a 27 percent increase in hate crimes throughout New York City despite a 14 percent decrease statewide. The report also revealed that Jews were the most frequent targets of hate crimes and that, nearly 70 years after the end of the Holocaust, swastikas are still being placed on property throughout New York State. In the last two weeks alone, swastikas were discovered on two separate occasions in Borough Park. In another incident, a man walking home from Shabbos services in Sheepshead Bay was assaulted by a group of black youths shouting anti-Semitic epithets.
We need to send a clear message to those who perpetrate such offensive acts in our communities that there is no place for their hatred in our civilized society. As legislators, we intended the penalty for the commission of a hate crime to be harsher than other crimes and I am requesting that you carry out our legislative intent to its fullest extent. We need to teach those with no tolerance for others that our court system, too, has no tolerance for hatred. It is my hope that by working together, and imposing stricter penalties, we will deter and one day prevent these terrible acts from occurring.
Steven H. Cymbrowitz
Member of Assembly