NEW YORK (PIX11) — The New York State Division of Human Rights is launching a statewide Hate and Bias Prevention Unit to take on the rise in hate crimes, including instances of antisemitism, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday.

She shared the news at the Lincoln Square Synagogue while discussing security concerns due to the rise in bias attacks. 

“It’s not just going to be sitting in a bureaucratic office. This is going to be part of a statewide initiative going to all 62 counties to educate and also be an early warning system,” Hochul said. “Let people know when you spot this. You see something your child is doing on social media and it concerns you. We can be in the prevention business as well by educating people as to what the signs are.”

Around 60 percent of religious hate crimes in the country are motivated by antisemitism, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. There were 2,717 incidents of antisemitic behavior in the US in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Just two days ago, two men who were allegedly planning an attack on New York City synagogues last month were indicted on a slew of charges, prosecutors said. In another recent incident, a man was arrested on a hate crime charge in the BB-gun shooting of a dad and son in Staten Island.

New York laws act as a safe haven for criminals instead of protecting the innocent victims, Mayor Eric Adams said.

“I don’t believe that we have had one person who has been arrested for a hate crime that’s served time in jail. That is unacceptable and it sends the wrong message,” he said. “There should be a no plea-bargaining rule if you are arrested for hate crimes, no plea bargain.”