$2.5 Million to Boost Joint Terrorism Task Force

Image by Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul.

(WNY News Now) – Responding to a surge in hate crimes post-Hamas terror attacks, Governor Kathy Hochul has earmarked $2.5 million to deploy additional state police investigators to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in New York City, Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester.

New York – New York has taken decisive action against the escalating wave of hate crimes and harassment incidents in the State of New York. In the wake of the recent Hamas terror attacks, which coincided with a reported increase in Antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents, Governor Hochul announced a substantial investment of $2.5 million. This allocation will facilitate the deployment of ten additional investigators from the New York State Police to reinforce the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force across key locations—New York City, Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester.

The heightened collaboration aims to address cases with New York State ties comprehensively, enhancing the investigative capacity of the JTTF. Furthermore, this initiative strengthens existing partnerships between the JTTF and the New York State Intelligence Center Counter-Terrorism Center. The focus extends to investigating Racially Motivated Violent Extremists, Domestic Violent Extremist groups, Anti-Government/Anti-Authority Violent Extremists, as well as addressing conspiracy theories and disinformation/misinformation.

The urgency of these measures is underscored by a 124 percent surge in bias incidents investigated by the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force in October. Notably, anti-Jewish incidents witnessed a stark 214 percent increase, while anti-Muslim incidents rose from 0 to 8. Overall, hate crime investigations for the year show a downward trend, experiencing a 9 percent decrease. Recent high-profile attacks on Muslim and Palestinian New Yorkers, coupled with sustained hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers, emphasize the need for robust preventive measures.

Governor Hochul’s multi-faceted approach also includes the recent launch of a hotline and online reporting form for swift reporting of hate and bias incidents. Following the Hamas terror attacks, she activated the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Counterterrorism, expanded State Police monitoring of social media, and directed heightened security measures at transit hubs. In July, Governor Hochul allocated over $51 million in grant funding to enhance the safety and security of organizations at risk of hate crimes.

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