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Cape Coral Chabad attack part of national increase in hate crimes

New FBI numbers show a double-digit increase in hate crimes.
Chabad Suspect Vehicle
Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 19:47:22-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Saturday marks one week since a man violently attacked the Chabad Jewish Center in Cape Coral.

Witnesses say a man, described as a white, balding man in his 50s, 6’ tall and weighing 200 lbs., threw bricks at the glass door building while worshippers were still inside.

Despite a $5,000 reward from the local Jewish Community, police still do not have a suspect in custody.

The attack, which investigators have labeled a hate crime, comes as antisemitism and hate crimes are on the rise.

“That is just horrific,” said Brian Lipton, the Regional Director of the American Jewish Committee of West Florida. “Because it’s not just a Jewish problem, it’s an American problem.”

In the AJC’s State of Antisemitism in America Report, the group found nearly 40% of American Jews have changed their behavior due to the rise in antisemitism.

“They’re not going to Jewish events. They’re not going to synagogue, they’re not wearing a Jewish star or head covering out of fear,” said Lipton.

This week, the FBI released updated numbers showing hate crimes jumped by 12% in 2021, the most recent year numbers were available.

Cape Coral Police call the attack part of a national trend.

“It happened here. And we need to acknowledge that,” said Police Chief Anthony Sizemore.

Police plan to be more visible at the Chabad Center.

But with no suspect in custody, the community remains on edge.

“We cannot let this be in the United States,” said Lipton. “Because any hatred goes against every American value we have.”

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