July 13, 2012
Swastika at Point Lookout
A Fourth Precinct police officer discovered a three foot by three foot swastika drawn in white chalk in the roadway in Point Lookout this Saturday while on routine patrol.
At 5:05 A.M. the officer noticed five large orange traffic cones blocking off traffic at Lido Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue. He left his vehicle and saw the swastika and obscenities and offensive slogans chalked on the road there.
“It’s being investigated,” said Lieutenant Gary Shapiro, Hate Crimes Coordinator for the Nassau County Police Department and Commanding Officer of Community Affairs. He noted that if someone draws a swastika “in a public place or private property without permission of the owner” it is considered “aggravated harassment in the first degree and in New York State it is an E felony.”
According to the New York State Criminal Courts site, a felony is “an offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year may be imposed.” Felonies are divided into five categories, “Class A felonies carry the longest jail sentences and class E felonies carry the shortest jail sentences for felony cases.”
“I keep hate crime statistics and over ten years I do not see any similar occurrence in the Point Lookout area,” said Shapiro. “It’s an isolated end of the island, the beginning of the barrier beach of Long Beach. Someone in that area knows who did it. It’s a small community. We have to identify the young people who did it and identify the reasons, what the motivations were. That’s the trick here. It’s an objectionable occurrence and we are taking it seriously.”
He recalled incidents of graffiti and swastikas in Lido in 2007 and 2008. “It’s troubling,” he said. “It’s a symbol of hate.” They are investigating it as a possible hate crime, he said, noting that they have to find the perpetrators and find out “why they do it” and that it’s a “variety of reasons. One side, it’s for attention, the other side, it’s real extreme hate.”
“We are encouraging the public to call the tip line,” he stressed. “It’s an anonymous way to report information, and you don’t have to give names. Or they can call the precinct and identify themselves, all the better.”