NEW YORK CITY — Another wave of bomb threats hit Jewish centers around the country Tuesday, including at the Anti-Defamation League's Midtown office, as the mayor and police met with officials at a Staten Island Jewish Community Center to discuss the problem.
The ADL threat was one of 20 nationwide made against Jewish centers Tuesday, including two upstate, as the country faces a rise in anti-Semitic incidents, officials said.
"We've never seen such a period of concentrated threats against the Jewish community," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the Staten Island JCC, which has received two threats. "Just the last two weeks are more trouble than anything I've seen in many, many years."
The ADL's office, on Third Avenue near 40th Street, got a call Tuesday morning at 9:50 a.m. from a person claiming a bomb would go off there in 20 minutes, police said. Officers swept the location and no device was found.
Since the beginning of the year, about 90 Jewish centers across the country have received similar threats, including the Staten Island JCC and four in Manhattan, according to the ADL.
"These are coming in at an unprecedented rate," NYPD Chief of Detective Robert Boyce said.
On Sunday, a caller to a Brooklyn's East Midwood Jewish Center left a voice mail promising to spray the temple with pig's blood, the Daily News reported.
Last week, St. Louis police arrested disgraced journalist Juan Thompson, 31, who was accused of making at least eight threats across the country — including an earlier one at the ADL's Manhattan headquarters — to get back at his former girlfriend.
Investigators believe the New York threats not tied to Thompson are coming from a single person or a group working together because they fit a similar pattern, Boyce said. Police have not made any arrests in connection with the two threats made to the Staten Island JCC.
"This is a very troubling reality," de Blasio said. "This is a moment in time and a moment in history where forces of hate have been released, and it's exceedingly unsettling."
In the city, hate crimes have risen 113 percent so far this year compared to 2016, with more than half categorized as anti-Semitic, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said.
There have been 100 reported hate crimes around the city this year, up from 47 in 2016, and 55 have targeted Jewish people, he added. Police have increased their presence at houses of worship around the city in response.
De Blasio vowed Tuesday that the city would thoroughly investigate the crimes and urged New Yorkers to call in any tips they may have to help prevent more.
"These horrible threats go against the values of New York City and they are unacceptable to us," the mayor said. "We will use every tool we have to bring the perpetrators to justice."