As the sun sets in New York City Wednesday evening and the Passover holiday begins for thousands of our Jewish neighbors, police are stepping up their presence outside Upper East Side synagogues — as they do each year — in a show of force protecting the congregations from threats or crime, as well as providing peace of mind throughout their celebrations.
“During the High Holy Days, we bring in outside units to help secure synagogues — and we bring them in from counterterrorism units and other units — so, it’s not just the 19th Precinct,” explained Deputy Inspector Bill Gallagher, the recently appointed commanding officer of the Upper East Side station house.
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“Anytime there’s a major holiday for any religion, we bring in additional resources to secure them,” he added.
Deputy Inspector Gallagher spoke in response to a question from the public about Passover security on Tuesday night, during the 19th Precinct’s Community Council meeting — a monthly gathering where the public and police on the Upper East Side discuss public safety initiatives and concerns.
“I am concerned about the fact that it is not just the city, I think it’s the United States of America, that is experiencing far more antisemitic crimes than in the past,” Deputy Inspector Gallagher said, “So yes, we do deploy more police officers.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, the number of incidents involving antisemitic harassment, vandalism or assault reported last year surged by 36% nationwide, hitting an all-time high.
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New York State leads the nation in the total number of antisemitic incidents reported, according to an ADL report released last month.
Outside Temple Emanu-El, located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 65th Street in Lenox Hill, Upper East Site spotted officers from the NYPD’s Critical Response Command — a counterterrorism unit — stationed in front and around the side of the synagogue to provide an added layer of protection in these trying times.
Last week, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell assured the public that here are no credible threats against the Jewish community in New York City at this time.
“The NYPD stands with every New Yorker during Passover and beyond ” Commissioner Sewell said, “Your security during Passover will remain one of the NYPD’s top priorities.”
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