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New York Puts Millions Toward Fighting Hate Speech, Crime

Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced $75 million in funding to combat the spike in hate speech and crime in the city. Funds will be used to provide new police technology and social media analysis, and more.

(TNS) — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of actions the state plans to implement for the safety of New Yorkers following a surge in hate and bias incidents in the weeks since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

"In the past few weeks I have met with Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers and heard about the deep sense of fear being felt by them and in their communities," Hochul said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Hochul's plan aims to mitigate hate inside New York State with a particular focus on providing local law enforcement agencies with $50 million to prevent and solve hate crimes in addition to other crimes; $25 million in security funding for at-risk community groups and cultural centers; an expansion of the New York State Police's social media analysis unit; and a new initiative from the Division of Human Rights.

Judge Jonathan Lippman, the former chief judge of New York and chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, has also been tasked by the governor to conduct an independent review of the City University of New York's policies and procedures related to antisemitism and discrimination.

During her speech, Hochul emphasized the Empire State's commitment to keeping New York a place known for acceptance and freedom.

"My top priority is to protect the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers," Hochul said. "Let me be clear: We cannot allow hate and intimidation to become normalized. As governor, I reaffirm that there is zero tolerance in New York for antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind, and it's critical we deploy every possible state resource to keep New Yorkers safe."


New York State is making $50 million available for law enforcement to modernize their tech and equipment in order to more effectively solve and prevent crimes, including hate crimes. Law enforcement agencies can apply for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services issued funding until noon on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

This funding helps to provide agencies with license plate readers, mobile and fixed surveillance cameras, computer-aided dispatch systems, software, unmanned aerial vehicles, gunshot detection devices, smart equipment and more, the governor explained.


Hochul announced during the press conference an additional $25 million for Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC) grants. In the wake of an increase in hate crimes worldwide, Hochul also directed the Division of Criminal Justice Services to develop new innovations and strategies to help address the current needs and challenges faced by organizations that are at-risk of hate crimes.


Lippman has been assigned by Hochul to conduct a third-party audit of CUNY's anti-discrimination policies to help protect Jewish students and faculty. Lippman's law firm, the New York office of Latham & Watkins, will support him in conducting the review, according to Hochul. Over the course of a few months, Lippman will conduct interviews, research, and other consultations in order to make a report with his full findings Spring 2024.

"As a judge and lawyer, my focus has always been first and foremost on fairness and equal justice. That same sense of fairness, and freedom from intimidation, for Jewish students and all others in CUNY's academic community, will be at the center of my review," Lippman said. "Antisemitism and discrimination in all its forms are unacceptable and I am honored that the governor has asked me to carry out this important task."


Hochul announced an additional $700,000 toward enhancing the Social Media Analysis Unit at the New York State Intelligence Center. Hochul plans to staff a team of analysts to perform daily analysis of publicly available social media activity to identify school violence threats, gang activity, and illegal firearms.


The Division of Human Rights Hate and Bias Prevention Unit will be offering community circles to help support community members affected by hate, according to the governor. These circles will be in-person and will be community specific, Hochul noted.


This announcement comes on the heels of last week's launch of a new hotline and online form for New Yorkers to be able to quickly report hate and bias.

Immediately following the Hamas terror attacks, Hochul fully activated the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Counterterrorism, expanded State Police monitoring of social media, and directed MTA and Port Authority leaders to patrol high-risk transit hubs.

In July, Hochul announced more than $51 million in grant funding to improve safety and security of organizations at risk of hate crimes.

©2023 Staten Island Advance, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.