Anti-Semitic slur defaces synagogue

| September 2, 2009

Someone wrote an anti-Semitic slur on the side of an Annapolis synagogue over the weekend, city police said.

Police were called to Congregation Kneseth Israel on Spa Road at about 8 p.m. Sunday after a representative of the synagogue reported graffiti written in pencil on a wall nearest the entrance to the facility.

Police found the words, attacking members of the Jewish faith, scribbled on the building. The graffiti misspelled the word Jew as "Juew."

The graffiti was apparently freshly written, but the synagogue’s representative did not know when it first appeared, police said.

At this point, the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime, police said.

"But that does not mean we can’t reclassify it when we obtain further information," Maj. Scott Baker said.

The insulting scribble was immediately removed while police were on the scene, but not before officers photographed it. A spokesman for the synagogue was unavailable for comment.

Officers have been alerted to keep an eye on the building with frequent checks. Other areas that have recently been hit with graffiti – mostly just "tagging" and not of the bigoted nature of the weekend incident – are subject to increased patrols, Baker said.

In another incident Sunday, two juveniles were arrested after spray-painting a Dumpster at Forest Hills Apartments. A witness called police, who found the two sitting on a curb nearby with the spray cans behind them and paint on their hands. Both were cited and released to their fathers.

After a rash of graffiti struck the city in February, when 25 locations were hit and 100 incidents recorded, the City Council took up a proposed ordinance on the issue. The bill defines the crime as defacing via "drawing, inscribing, painting, scratching, scribbling, or writing upon any wall or surface owned, operated or maintained by a person or the city."

The crime, classified a misdemeanor, would be subject to a $250 fine for first-time offenders and up to $1,000 for repeat offenders plus up to 90 days in jail.

The legislation, introduced in April, has not been acted on. But the chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Alderman David Cordle, R-Ward 5, said he anticipates it will be taken up this month.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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