DENVER (CBS4)– Hate crimes targeting the nation’s Jewish communities are at an all-time high according to a 2021 audit from the Anti-Defamation League. Colorado saw a 53% increase from the year before, with 92 total anti-Semitic incidents.
The ADL says this trend is concerning, as harassment can easily escalate to violence.
“We did have an assault that took place. We saw acts of vandalism, but most of it was harassment. It’s something that really wouldn’t be a hate crime, but it can still be very painful to those who are the target,” said Scott Levin with the ADL.
Denver schools have been vandalized with paintings of swastikas more than once. Earlier this year, hate speech targeting Jewish leaders made its way into neighborhoods around the Denver metro area.
“One of the worst examples we’ve had lately are the flyers founder from Castle Rock to Arvada. White supremacists passed out anti-Semitic flyers. It goes a long way toward normalizing the hate that these people have,” said Levin.
The ADL says they’re doubling down on their efforts to fight anti-Semitism and hate – but they can’t do it alone. All incidents should be reported to police, but some victims of hate crimes choose not to involve law enforcement.
“Sometimes they just forget about it because they don’t want to create more trouble, especially when we don’t speak English that fluently,” said Camille Song, a local restaurant owner who moved to Denver from China.
Song says her welcome to the USA was warmer compared to her other friends of Asian descent.
“One neighbor is being very rude to her and saying things like, go back to China. She’s been asking me how to deal with those situations,” said Song. “I don’t understand it. I think a human is a human.”
Those who witness a hate crime should contact the Denver Police Department Bias Motivated Crimes Hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-913-6458.