Investigators seek person who painted swastikas along park trail in Newtown

NEWTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- Officials from Tyler State Park in Newtown say that while graffiti has been a problem over the years, graffiti that is hateful, racist or anti-Semitic is unusual.

That is why Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub says the people who reported finding swastikas painted along a park trail there did the right thing by reporting it.

"If you feel that you are a victim of antisemitism in particular or a hate crime in general please contact your local police. We do take it very seriously. We will investigate it and run it down and if somebody is guilty of a crime we will prosecute them," Weintraub says.

This comes on the heels of what officials from the New Hope-Solebury School District are only describing as a minor anti-Semitic incident at one of its schools.

An incident followed by a letter sent to parents making sure they are aware of the case, and that steps were being taken to make sure it does not happen again.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic behavior is on the rise across Pennsylvania over the past five years going from 43 reported incidents in 2015 and peaking in 2017 with 96 reported cases.

Rabbi Charles Briskin from Shir Ami Congregation in Newtown says he believes what we are seeing is a combination of the current social climate with the rise of social media.

The rabbi says, "Social media is enabling people who otherwise might have been living by themselves in a community, are able to find these online communities of hate and so, tragically, people are acting on them."

This comes in the wake of the horrific synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and most recently in Southern California.

Local officials say that while they are not overly concerned about the appearance of the hate symbols in Tyler State Park, they are certainly not ignoring it.

Anyone with information about the person, or people, responsible should contact Newtown, Bucks County police.
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