New York will increase staffing to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in response to a rise in hate crimes and incidents of harassment, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday.
Hochul also directed an additional $2.5 million to the New York State Police, which will go toward the deployment of 10 additional investigators in New York City, Albany, Buffalo and Rochester, ensuring the State Police has a presence in all Joint Terrorism Task Force investigative groups and areas.
Hochul said the move comes after reported increases in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents following the Hamas attacks in Israel in October.
“I immediately deployed the New York State Police on October 7 to protect at-risk communities and we have continued our laser focus on public safety since then,” she said. “Surging resources to the Joint Terrorism Task Force is a critical step to ensure New Yorkers are protected from domestic and international threats.”
The new investment means the State Police will be able to act as a force-multiplier for the task force, ensuring that all cases with state ties are thoroughly examined and investigated. It will also strengthen ties already existing between the task force and the New York State Intelligence Center Counter-Terrorism Center. This will allow for greater involvement in investigations into racially motivated violent extremists, domestic violent extremist groups, anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists and conspiracy theories and disinformation/misinformation.
State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said the move is essential to keep New Yorkers safe.
“Coordination across levels of government and agencies is essential to protect New Yorkers,” she said. “This investment will strengthen the partnership between New York State and the FBI and increase everyone’s capacity to curtail and stop hate fueled violence.”
There was a 124% increase in the total number of bias incidents investigated by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force, with a 214% spike in anti-Jewish incidents, while anti-Muslim incidents increased in October from zero to eight incidents.
That said, hate crime investigations year to date continued their downward trend with a decrease of 9% overall. There have been a number of high-profile attacks on Muslim and Palestinian New Yorkers, with hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers remaining elevated over the past few years.