Police departments across New England have issued alerts and stepped up their presence this weekend after social media posts referenced a supposed "National Day of Hate" against Jewish groups.
Brookline police said the situation started with an anti-Semitic group based in Iowa, which reached out to its supporters calling for them to “shock the masses with banners, fliers, & graffiti." The department has plans to increase patrols in areas of religious institutions, especially temples and synagogues.
Police in both Brookline and Cambridge are increasing their presence around places of worship on Saturday, particularly temples and synagogues.
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Authorities say there is no immediate threat of violence to the community and that they are adding the patrols out of an abundance of caution. In the meantime though, police are asking people to report anything suspicious.
"We would just like people to be aware, and like we always say, if you see something, say something," Brookline Police Deputy Superintendent Paul Campbell said in a video posted to social media.
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The New Hampshire Department of Safety also put out a warning Friday, asking residents and visitors to be vigilant, and adding they have not received any credible threats or notice of any scheduled events in the state at this time. Anything suspicious can be reported by calling 911.
"We, as an organization are monitoring this situation closely," said Peggy Shukur, the interim regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in New England. "We live in a time and a place where threats like this need to be taken seriously and communities need to remain vigilant."
Shukur says the ADL is calling on people to counteract this hate with a day of peace.
"As the Jewish Sabbath approaches, we're calling on communities and people to embrace this weekend as a time of peace, and to let peace win over a designated day of hate by extremist groups," she said.
Bias or hate incidents can be reported to the ADL at adl.org/incident.
Law enforcement in other cities across the country, including New York City and Chicago, are also upping patrols.
This comes just days after police in Portsmouth, New Hampshire announced an investigation into hateful graffiti in their city.
Recent years have seen a significant increase in hate and antisemitic incidents. In an April 2022 report, the ADL found a 42% spike in reports of assaults, harassment and vandalism against Jewish people in New England in 2021, and a 34% increase nationwide.
A spokesperson for the FBI Boston Division says it works daily to detect, disrupt and dismantle these types of threats, asking people to report anything suspicious to law enforcement.
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