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NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force Investigating Antisemitic Attack And Vandalism In Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Antisemitic attacks are on the rise in New York City, according to the NYPD.

As CBS2's Elijah Westbrook reports, the troubling trend is raising concerns within the Jewish community.

Police are investigating at least two incidents over the weekend in Brooklyn. One involved a man who was punched in the face while walking down the street Friday night in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

"It's become so routine that it doesn't stand out in the public's mind," Williamsburg resident Dr. Andrew Scheinfeld told Westbrook. "So we hope for the best."

Surveillance video shows the suspect run from a minivan and punch the man, who was dressed in traditional Hasidic clothing.

Police said it happened around 10:30 p.m. on Stockton Street near Marcy Avenue. The man was treated at the scene for pain to his face.

"It seems in difficult times, the Jewish people have always been the scapegoat, and it hasn't changed over many, many centuries," Scheinfeld said. "It's something the community lives with throughout the world."

On Sunday morning, multiple yeshiva school buses were spray painted with swastika graffiti. Police said someone reported the disturbing graffiti on Division and Marcy avenues near the 90th Precinct in Williamsburg.

"We're very, very concerned about this trend," said Scott Richman, regional director of the New York/New Jersey Anti-Defamation League.

Richman said incidents like these are occurring on a weekly basis in the city, and the Jewish community is on edge.

"Antisemitism is at historic high levels. We saw that 2019 was the highest year on record for antisemitic incidents, since the ADL began tracking it," he said. "2020 was almost at that level, and unfortunately - we haven't gotten the numbers yet for 2021- but I don't think we're going to see much of a difference."

"The attacks, they are random, they are anonymous, they are racially based," longtime Williamsburg resident Marianne Cocchini said. "I think we all need to be educated on both sides of the equation."

The ADL said it is working with the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force to solve these crimes and will offer a $7,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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