The Guardian Angels, “a private, unarmed crime-prevention group,” will begin patrolling the streets of Brooklyn and and other majority-Jewish neighborhoods, it says, following a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in New York City, culminating in a mass stabbing that took place Saturday night at a Hanukkah party in a suburb of the metropolis.
The group, led by Curtis Sliwa, is best known for patrolling the streets of downtown Manhattan in the 1980s, when crime in the city was at an all-time high, and places like Times Square were hubs of adult entertainment and beehives of crime. The Guardian Angels, clad in embroidered red satin jackets and red berets, became a fixture of of the subways, which they rode to and from NYC’s high crime areas, where they conducted their surveillance.
They now feel compelled to help protect the Orthodox Jewish communities, under seige by anti-Semites. The group told NBC News that they plan on starting patrols at “noon in the Crown Heights neighborhood and [will] expand to Williamsburg and Borough Park later in the day.”
Sliwa actually made the announcement before an anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, Saturday night that left five people critically injured. A man, wielding a machete, broke into a rabbi’s private residence where he was hosting a party for the seventh night of Hanukkah. The man stabbed several partygoers before being scared off, then tried to break into the synagogue next door. Occupants of the synagogue locked the doors and the man took off in a silver sedan. He was captured in New York City after his license plate triggered a reader on the George Washington bridge.
Saturday night’s attack was the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents — at least nine in as many days — and the latest in a years-long anti-Semitic campaign being waged against Orthodox Jews living in primarily Jewish neighborhoods in and around New York City.
“The most recent attack happened Friday. Police say 30-year-old Tiffany Harris slapped three Jewish women in Crown Heights. She was charged with attempted assault as a hate crime and released without bail,” according to local media. “Ayana Logan, 42, was arrested after she allegedly hit a woman in the head with a bag and made anti-Semitic comments in Gravesend on Thursday afternoon.
“In another incident on Christmas Day, a man in traditional religious clothing was punched as he walked home in Borough Park.”
Sliwa commissioned the Guardian Angels to patrol the streets of Crown Heights and Williamsburg after reviewing crime logs. In an interview with local media on Saturday, he blamed the NYPD for failing to address anti-Semitic violence, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for turning a blind eye to the attacks out of political correctness.
“These attacks are taking place, and the cops have not been proactive at all,” Sliwa said. “It comes from City Hall and the mayor. He’s been just apathetic.”
De Blasio’s office insisted Sunday that they oppose anti-Semitism and that they have addressed the attacks, telling reporters in a statement that,”[t]he best police department in the world has increased deployment in Crown Heights, Boro Park and Williamsburg, and has launched a new intelligence unit to prevent hate crimes from occurring,” it continued. “We will continue to work hand in hand with the community to keep our city safe.”
The events of the last several weeks seem to suggest the city has not been taking the attacks seriously. According to local news outlet, PIX11, there was at least one anti-Semitic attack every day last week.