SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Anti-Semitic hate crimes in the La Jolla and Pacific Beach areas have prompted investigations by the Anti-Defamation League and San Diego Police.
Several swastikas have been found, including one that was scratched into a man's car with a key.
Gerry, who News 8 will only refer to by a first name basis because he does not want to be targeted, said he is not Jewish, but the anti-Semitic message is hatred to everyone.
“You can see the hood is covered with what appears to be a swastika that is engraved all the way down to the metal. For me, it does not really matter because we all in this community together and I reject - and everyone that I know, I work with and live with and commute with - reject this type of symbol – this type of hate.”
Gerry said he called police who came out and investigate. When he posted about the anti-Semitic vandalism on NextDoor, he learned another swastika had been sprayed on the street in north Pacific Beach. Other cars were also reported as having been vandalized, too.
Gerry contacted the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego, which categorized the vandalism as a hate crime.
“There is no such thing as a minor hate crime. If property is damaged or someone is harmed for the purpose of targeting a community, that is a hate crime. That is a felony and it is very serious,” said Matt Wagner, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego.
The ADL still has a $3,000 reward for a swastika sprayed on a Jewish family’s Poway home on the first night of Hanukkah last year.
“We are all in it together – that no community can be safe in its existence while any other marginalized community is under threat,” said Wagner.
Gerry said he “wanted to raise awareness in the neighborhood.”
The district attorney office has a hate crime unit, and if convicted of the felony, it carries up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The public is asked to call police and the ADL to report hate crimes. The ADL said it is important to track for any trends to assist and for prevention.