Hate crimes against London’s Jewish minority have surged over the last 12 months with an increase of 93.4% according to figures from the Metropolitan police. In the 12 months from July 2014, police recorded 499 anti-Semitic crimes in London compared with 258 in the same period the preceding year. The boroughs worst affected were Hackney and Barnet where respectively 122 and 120 instances were reported.
In a statement to IBTimes UK, the Met attributed the rise to several factors, including increased reporting, but said that greater focus on the capital’s 250,000-strong Jewish communities in the wake of events elsewhere had led to the spike.
“In light of recent world events, we know communities in London are feeling anxious,” the Met statement said. “Local neighbourhood policing teams are providing a more targeted presence in key areas at key times, such as school routes, holy days and prayer times to give extra reassurance.”
Commander Mak Chishty, MPS hate crime lead, said: “We will not tolerate hate crime and take positive action to investigate all allegations, support victims and arrest offenders.
“Victims of hate crime must be assured that they will be taken seriously by the police,” he added.
A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which works to combat anti-Semitism in the UK, told IBTimes UK that, while numbers fluctuated, 2014 was a “record high” for anti-Semitic hate crime. He said this was due to “big trigger events” including the Israeli war in Gaza and the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, which led to increased reporting. He explained that between 2010 and 2013 anti-Semitic crime had fallen, but that generally there had been an increase from 2000.
Islamophobia and crimes against London’s Muslim minority have also increased significantly in the same period. There has been a 71% rise according to the Met, with 816 offences recorded in the last 12 months, compared with 478 offences a year ago.
The police have said Muslim women are most likely to be targets of hate crime: “There are a number of reasons why Muslim women are targeted more than men. Their physical attire obviously says they are Muslim, they are normally by themselves and with children, and the cowardice shown by perpetrators is that it is easier to attack a woman with children than it is a man,” the Met said.