CROWN HEIGHTS — Police in Crown Heights are investigating two separate instances of vandalism this week — a swastika scrawled onto a parking sign days after a spray-painted message appeared on a security gate that said “kill the gentry,” or gentrifiers, according to police.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is looking for a teen that a homeowner said he saw drawing a swastika on a “no parking” sign outside his house on Maple Street near Kingston Avenue at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. When confronted, the teen fled.
The suspect was caught on surveillance video near the home, sources said, though no arrests have been made as of Wednesday.
Public Advocate Letitia James condemned the crime in a statement on Wednesday, saying that the “senseless and offensive act” is especially painful “on the eve of Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day.”
“I am calling for increased vigilance by New Yorkers to report hate crimes against any and all communities,” she said.
The crime came days after police in the nearby 77th Precinct responded to Bedford Avenue and Park Place where someone had scrawled “kill the gentry” in black spray paint on a roll-down gate on Saturday. The commanding officer of the precinct, Deputy Inspector Eddie Lott, showed a snapshot of the graffiti — which has since been removed — to attendees of a community meeting on Monday, saying he “found it disturbing.”
“It says, ‘kill the gentry’ … referring to the quote unquote gentrification that’s going on in Brooklyn and here in Crown Heights,” he said. “We cannot tolerate things like this in our community.”
It is unlikely that the two incidences are connected. Lott said the graffiti at Bedford and Park was the only image of its kind reported in the precinct.
In addition to Tuesday’s incident on Maple Street, police in the area have investigated two other instances of anti-Semitic graffiti appearing on or inside Crown Heights buildings in the last year. In May, a swastika was spray painted on a garage off Schenectady Avenue and, in September, police investigated who may have written “Kill the Jew tenant” in a President Street building.