Community remains on edge amid uptick in bias crimes in New Jersey
From physical attacks to property damage, bias crimes have seen an uptick in New Jersey since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. One New Jersey police department is encouraging residents to pause before posting about bias incidents.
In Highland Park, a man could be seen snatching an Israeli flag from its post. Rutgers student Zoe Khodorkovsky was home alone when it happened.
"I was in my home where I’m supposed to feel most safe to express my religious beliefs and that was taken away from me. It was frightening and it made me very angry,” Khodorkovsky says.
In Jersey City, a Palestinian American man was jumped just days ago near Grove Street and Newark Avenue. His attack is under investigation and has yet to be classified as a bias attack.
The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General says 380 bias incidents were reported statewide in October. The office said that 133 Jewish people were targeted—more than three times the monthly average of 42. Incidents targeting Islam or Muslims were up 48% last month.
The Highland Park Police Department took to social media asking residents to pause before posting videos related to crimes, saying in a statement, "Immediately posting these types of videos to social media platforms can actually make it more difficult for the Highland Park Police Department to locate and apprehend those that are engaged in criminal activity…suspects have seen videos posted on social media and have moved into hiding or have taken measures to change their appearance.”
Khodorkovsky says she understands why people are quick to post about incidents online.
“In the world we live in now where social media is such a big aspect of everyone’s lives, especially in this time of war and hostility, I don’t regret anything that anyone might have put out just because I feel like we all have that obligation to show what’s really going on in our lives and when personally affect us, especially something this sensitive,” she says.
One man has been arrested in the case in Jersey City. No arrests have been made yet in the Highland Park incident.