Nassau County police have announced a joint initiative with MTA police after nearly a dozen incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti were discovered at three Long Island Rail Road stations in the Five Towns -- a neighborhood with a large Orthodox Jewish population.
The vandalism has typically occurred in the overnight hours, with the graffiti consisting of obscenities directed at Orthodox Jews scrawled on platform billboards or station signs. In one instance, a swastika was etched into the wall of a platform shelter.
"Nassau County will not tolerate these detestable acts and is partnering with the MTA by offering its intelligence-led policing assets to strengthen the MTA efforts to apprehend those responsible for such hate crimes," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.
MTA police are investigating 11 incidents since December 2012 -- seven in Cedarhurst, three in Lawrence and one in Hewlett, said MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels. The two most recent incidents occurred in Cedarhurst last month. Police suspect the cases are connected.
"These blatant displays of hatred . . . are jarring, traumatic reminders of a time many feel is best forgotten," said Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), noting that the Five Towns is home to a number of Holocaust survivors and their families.
Nassau police have increased the number of marked cars, uniformed officers and plainclothes detectives around the LIRR stations, said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin. Nassau police also have installed video surveillance cameras on station platforms.
Nassau police are offering a $5,000 award for information leading to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS or MTA Police at 516-222-6501.