Huge Rise in Anti-Semitic Crime in Stamford Hill

LONDON -
A member of Shomrim of Northeast London (left), and a London policeman, looking at a swastika spray-painted on a wall in Stamford Hill last summer. (Shomrim of Northeast London)
A member of Shomrim of Northeast London (left), and a London policeman, looking at a swastika spray-painted on a wall in Stamford Hill last summer. (Shomrim of Northeast London)

London’s largest Jewish community, Stamford Hill, has suffered an increase of nearly 90 percent in reported anti-Semitic crimes over the last year, according to figures released by the Metropolitan Police.

The London Borough of Hackney, where the Stamford Hill kehillah is located, was the site of 122 of the capital’s 483 anti-Semitic crimes for the 12 months ending in November. Incidents included painting offensive graffiti on schools and other public places, shouting racist abuse and distributing anti-Semitic leaflets.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck, OBE, president of Shomrim Northeast London, said, “It is of deep concern to note a steep rise of anti-Semitic hate crime in Hackney over the last 12 months, and similar rises in hate attacks against other minority communities.

“While this might be explained by some as being a result of better reporting, it still demonstrates the depth and persistence of this grave problem, which needs to be urgently and properly dealt with.”

The Metropolitan Police have frequently praised the work of Shomrim in helping to track down or detain offenders of all sorts, particularly in anti-Semitic incidents. Shomrim regularly assist and help victims to report incidents, including attending court to give evidence, which has led to some successful prosecutions.

The Borough Commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Laurence, said, “We work in partnership with Shomrim and the Jewish community to prevent, deter and detect” anti-Semitic crimes.

Laurence said that arrests are made in “over 27 percent” of instances of  “anti-Semitic crime, and Shomrim have played a huge part in that by alerting us of crimes and providing evidence to bring offenders to justice.”

A member of Shomrim of Northeast London scrubs a spray-painted swastika from a wall in Stamford Hill last summer. (Shomrim of Northeast London)
A member of Shomrim of Northeast London scrubs a spray-painted swastika from a wall in Stamford Hill last summer. (Shomrim of Northeast London)

Mark Gardner, Director of Communications for Community Security Trust, an organization that monitors anti-Semitism and volunteers to take care of security at Jewish events, told Hamodia: “Any rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes is of concern. We hope that this reflects improved confidence among victims and witnesses to report hate crimes to the police, as well as any rise in the number of hate crimes taking place. It is a reminder that there remains a serious problem of anti-Semitic hate crime that we are working closely with the police to try to tackle.”

In Hackney, community relations are generally very good. When a neo-Nazi tried to organize a rally in the spring against the “Jewification” of the area, and against Shomrim in particular, the kehillah was overwhelmed by the support from other local residents, on both the personal and communal level.

Overall, in London, there was an increase in all types of crime apart from burglary, with 725,000 crimes reported this year compared to 697,000 in the previous year. In Hackney, the number of reported crimes rose by about 2000.


Updated Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 4:50 pm