NEW YORK – Council Member Rory I. Lancman yesterday urged the city to take the rise in white supremacist violence seriously, and treat these hate groups as the domestic terrorist organizations that they are.

Lancman’s comments came at a City Council hearing to examine how the city is combating white supremacist hate crimes, following the rise of alt-right violence and the “Proud Boys” assaults in October, and the strategies the police department is using to keep New Yorkers safe. The NYPD reported that there have already been more than 300 hate crimes in 2018, a slight increase from 2017, while the number of antisemitic hate crimes has increased by 18 percent.

Given the continued spike in white supremacist violence, Lancman expressed his concern that the city is not responding with appropriate seriousness or devoting sufficient resources to thwart these domestic terrorists. Lancman pointed out that the NYPD’s hesitation to take action in October after members of the Proud Boys, a noted hate group, attacked individuals on the streets of New York served as confirmation that the city needed to revamp its preparation and strategies to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“I am concerned that as we hear about the strategies, technologies and manpower being dispatched to uncover plots by international terrorists who want to do us harm, that we do not have that same focus and intensity on domestic terrorists. That is what these people need to be viewed as: domestic terrorists. They are not just random individuals with dangerous ideas,” said Council Member Lancman.

Lancman reiterated his call for the city to support a Citywide Nonprofit Security Grant Program, an initiative Council Member Lancman proposed along with Council Member Levine, to provide religious and cultural institutions that are credible targets of violence with funds to protect themselves.

“The state and federal government have funding streams available for non-profit institutions at-risk of an attack, but the city has refused to make the same commitment. In light of what so many communities are experiencing, I think it is time for New York City to join New York State and the federal government in providing support to institutions that are right now scrambling to come up with resources needed to protect themselves,” added Council Member Lancman.