Authorities are currently investigating an attack on a Jewish center in Cape Coral, Florida. The attackers reportedly drove by and threw a suspicious object at the building before fleeing the scene, sparking concerns over hate crimes in the area. Police have released descriptions of the suspects’ vehicle and are urging anyone with information to come forward. The incident has once again brought attention to the rise in hate crimes targeting the Jewish community in recent years.
Authorities Looking for Car Following Attack on Cape Coral Jewish Center
On Sunday, June 13th, 2021, the Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral, Florida, was vandalized in what has been termed by the authorities as a hate crime. The incident occurred early on Sunday morning when an unknown person smashed the windows of the center’s vehicle and sprayed a swastika on the driveway. While the center’s rabbi, Yossi Labkowski, stated that the incident came as a shock, he was grateful that nobody was hurt. In response, authorities are searching for the car used in the crime, and the community is standing in solidarity with the Jewish community of Cape Coral.
The Cape Coral Police Department released a statement about the incident stating that they were searching for a car, possibly a white 4-door passenger car, seen leaving the scene on surveillance footage. While the motives of the attack are not clear, lawmakers and advocates are urging for increased surveillance of hate groups and improved laws to protect places of worship. According to the Florida Hate Crime Statistics Act, a hate crime is defined as “a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender.”
Support From the Community
The attack has generated a huge response from the Cape Coral community. Many organizations and groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Muslim American Society, and the Southwest Florida American Israeli Political Action Committee, expressed solidarity with the Jewish community in Cape Coral. Rabbi Labkowski said, “The support has been incredible…Within a few hours, I received messages from local religious leaders, business owners, government officials, and community members, all wanting to express their support and offer help.” To show support for the Jewish community, the Anti-Defamation League launched a sign campaign. Residents were encouraged to show their support by placing signs on their lawns bearing a message of unity and inclusion. Likewise, the Southwest Florida American Israeli Political Action Committee launched an email campaign calling on lawmakers to strengthen hate crime laws.
The Need for Action
Incidents of hate crimes have been on the rise in the United States since the pandemic began. According to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, incidents of hate crimes have increased by 145% since January 2021. As a result, lawmakers and advocates are calling for stricter laws and surveillance measures against hate groups. Rabbi Labkowski, speaking in response to the attack, said, “We must combat hate by educating, coming together, and speaking out against it.” Likewise, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has launched a five-point plan to fight antisemitism, calling on lawmakers to strengthen hate crime laws, invest in training for law enforcement, and create a new Office of Domestic Terrorism within the Department of Justice.
The incident at the Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral has shocked the community, but it has also demonstrated the power of solidarity and community support. The authorities are currently investigating the attack, and the Jewish community in Cape Coral is calling for an end to hate crimes. The incident has highlighted the need for improved surveillance measures and stricter hate crime laws. The Cape Coral community has demonstrated that it will not tolerate hate and will stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. The Authorities are investigating, and anyone with information on the incident is urged to call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-8477.
– The Incident
– Support From the Community
– The Need for Action