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FCPD seeks grant to help protect local Jewish congregations from hate crimes

Fairfax County police car (file photo)

Last week, Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors authorized a grant that aims to help protect local Jewish organizations from hate crimes.

The Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) is applying for a $150,000 grant (page 244) from the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Combating Hate Crime Grant Program. The funding will be used to better secure local congregations against hate crimes.

The application comes amid a notable upswing in antisemitic hate crimes nationwide. A new state report showed a rise in antisemitic harassment and vandalism — though the report also conflates opposition to the Israeli government with antisemitism.

“Generally, while the Commonwealth has not seen antisemitic assaults take place since 2018, there has been an increased frequency of antisemitic harassment and antisemitic vandalism at levels which have remained constant from 2018 to 2021,” the report said. “In 2021, 411 reported antisemitic incidents impacted residents of the Commonwealth. These incidents showed a 71% increase over the 292 reported incidents in 2020.”

Fairfax County releases reports on bias crimes over three-year periods. The latest report, covering 2018-2020, said there had been an uptick in “bias crimes and incidents” in recent years.

“The aggregate total of all bias crimes and incidents for 2018-2020 was 320,” the report said. “This represents a 65.8% increase over the previous 3-year total of 193 incidents encompassing the years 2015-2017.”

Anti-Black bias comprised around 40.6% of the aggregate total. The second most prevalent was a general “other ethnicity/national origin” category at around 11.3%, while anti-Jewish bias crimes represented around 6.9% of the aggregate total.

Calls for “suspicious events” represented the most frequent incident at 25% of the aggregate total. Disorderly conduct accounted for the second most common category, representing 21.6% of the aggregate total.

A staff report said the grant funding would make the following locations more secure:

  • Bethlehem Lutheran Church
  • Congregation Olam Tikvah
  • Gesher Jewish Day School
  • Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
  • Pozez Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
  • Temple Rodef Shalom

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