Bergen County Authorities Launch 24-hour Joint Patrols of Religious Sites After Bias Attacks
County patrols will support local police efforts.
County police and sheriff’s officers have begun 24-hour joint patrols of religious sites across Bergen County in the wake of a string of bias attacks targeting the Jewish community, authorities said Friday.
Marked units from the two departments are working in cooperation with local police to check ethnic community centers and religious sites from a range of faiths, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement.
“All community and religious centers will benefit from the strategy, including synagogues, mosques, churches and other houses of worship,” Molinelli said.
Law enforcement officials and Jewish community leaders met Thursday in Paramus to discuss the rash of hate crimes. The attacks began in December when synagogues in Maywood and Hackensack were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, including swastikas. The crimes escalated this month when a small fire was set at Congregation K'Hal Adath Jeshuran in Paramus, and Congregation Beth El in Rutherford was firebombed, injuring Rabbi Nosson Schuman.
Molinelli said the attack Wednesday in Rutherford was being treated as an attempted murder. The Anti-Defamation League announced Friday it was tripling its reward to $7,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the hate crime spree.
The patrols would continue until authorities “are satisfied that the Rutherford incident was isolated and will not repeat," Molinelli said in an email. Overtime costs from the joint effort will be covered by the prosecutor’s office.
Swastikas were also discovered Friday in Fair Lawn, but police said the vandalism could be tied to a rash of other anti-Semitic graffiti found in Fair Lawn and at Van Saun County Park in Paramus over the past couple weeks.
Anyone with information can call the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-226-5651.
Myles Ma and Zak Koeske contributed to this report