A Jewish woman in New York was assaulted on Saturday as part of the so-called “knockout game,” according to tweets posted by New York City Councilman David Greenfield and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
The woman “didn’t lose consciousness but was knocked to the ground by an assailant in broad daylight,” Greenfield tweeted on Saturday evening. The councilman last week requested that the New York Police Department install security cameras in both the Midwood and Borough Park neighborhoods as a deterrent to further attacks.
“In light of the ongoing rash of assaults that have left many residents frightened to walk around our neighborhood alone, I am asking the NYPD to move forward on the installation of these security cameras as soon as possible,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield also tweeted that he has spoken with city councilman-elect Chaim Deutsch of Flatbush in order to formulate a “coordinated response to the latest knockout attack.”
“Given the random nature of these attacks and the lack of witnesses, security cameras may be our best chance of making arrests in these disgusting crimes,” he explained in a statement.
Deutsch, the former head of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, stated that he is working with the NYPD and called on citizens to report any suspicious activity.
The Borough Park Shomrim will be “issuing alerts and telling people to be aware of their surroundings once it gets dark, [and] not to go out by yourself,” group coordinator Heshy Rubinstein told The Jewish Week.
The Jewish newspaper also reported that the Guardian Angels, a nondenominational community watch organization, will be sending volunteers to patrol in several Jewish neighborhoods.
“We’re running a full campaign,” Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa told The Jerusalem Post in an email last week.
The group posted flyers in affected neighborhoods urging residents to “stop the knockout game” by following a list of safety tips.
The Jewish Week also reported that the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council has announced a reward of $1,500 in exchange for information leading to arrests in connection with the attacks.
Last week the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, an umbrella organization coordinating activities among various Jewish organizations in the city, told the Post that it is offering a bounty of up to $5,000 for such information.
New York officials issued statements condemning the knockout attacks, with returning police commissioner Bill Bratton telling the New York Post that the NYPD will go after perpetrators “aggressively.”
“We’ll attack trends like knockout the way a doctor goes after a basal cell before it becomes a melanoma. That’s what we did with the wolf packs of the late 1980s and early 1990s,” he said.
Brooklyn Borough President elect Eric Adams called the attacks “terror,” The Yeshiva World reported. “There’s not difference if you fly in a plane into a building or if you are striking someone because they are walking down the street. Knockout is not a game. It’s an assault. It’s terrorizing people, and we got to put it to a halt.”
Not every politician’s response has been greeted with delight by New York’s Jewish community, however.
Despite calling for a zero tolerance policy on the knockout game, councilwoman- elect Laurie Cumbo of Crown Heights angered many of her soon to be constituents when she posted on Facebook a letter she had emailed to supporters explaining that resentment of Jewish success may be a cause of the violence.
Despite significant progress in intercommunal relations since 1991‘s Crown Heights Riot, many African American and Caribbean residents of the neighborhood have “expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes,” she wrote. Despite her admiration for the Jewish community, she continued, “for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment.”
“Expressing, as you have, a sympathy for those who hold the success of the Jewish community in contempt – as a success ‘not their own’ – almost rings as an apology for those who are committing violent crimes as a response to their resentment,” Hikind wrote in a blog post lambasting Cumbo.
“While the sociologists busy themselves analyzing and ruminating over social trends, our jobs as elected officials should be to protect the victims and protect the community, not ascribe motivation to criminals.”