Incidents Of Anti-semitic Vandalism Are Believed To Be Isolated

Posted: December 18, 1994

UWCHLAN — Vandals sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti on street signs in this area earlier this month, but according to state police and the Anti-Defamation League, there are no signs that hate-crime is increasing in Chester County.

Several street signs in the Davis Road area were spray-painted with swastikas, and at least one had the word Jews written underneath, said Uwchlan Police Chief Pat Davis.

Cpl. Jack Laufer of the state police said the graffiti appeared to be isolated incidents.

"I can think of nothing (like this) in the last few months, and I've been here since the end of August," said Laufer, of the Embreeville barracks. ''The only thing of any note was the cross-burning in Honey Brook," which officials blamed on a Klan group trying to intimidate an African American family.

Barry Morrison, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, also said he was not aware of a large number of hate-crime acts in Chester County.

"We are just about to issue our annual report," said Morrison. "And my impression is that we will not show a large number of anti-Semitic acts of vandalism in Chester County."

Davis said he was not sure whether the hate incidents were increasing or people were just more aware of them. There have also been incidents of anti- Semitic graffiti in East Brandywine Township over the last few months, and Davis said he suspected high school students were responsible for most of them.

"Just over the past two or four years you see more of it," said Davis. ''The hate crimes or anti-Semitic stuff is more commonplace or maybe it's just become less acceptable, so it's getting more notoriety."

East Brandywine Township Police Chief Bart Brown could not be reached for comment.

Although he has not gotten a lot of reports of hate-crime incidents, Morrison said there was a good deal of what he characterized as "hateful activity" in Chester County. The trend, however, is more toward face-to-face confrontations, rather than graffiti.

"Anti-Semitic vandalism has been decreasing compared to other forms of expression," said Morrison. "In-your-face anti-Semitism is increasing."

Recent crime statistics showed that Pennsylvania ranked seventh in the nation in terms of the number of hate crimes committed annually.

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