JEFFERSON PARK — More antisemitic messages have been found on cars throughout Jefferson Park, angering and unsettling residents.
A neighbor told Block Club he noticed a cardboard sign on his car windshield after walking his dog Wednesday morning. The sign had bigoted messages in black sharpie about Jews and the Jewish Star of David, among other symbols, he said.
The neighbor and his wife, whom Block Club is not naming for safety reasons, found six other signs on cars along Merrimac and Melvina avenues between Strong and Gunnison streets, he said.
Another Jefferson Park neighbor also found 15 signs with similar hate symbols and antisemitic phrases around the same time Wednesday near his home in the 5400 block of West Wilson Avenue, which was hit with similar signs last week. He found the signs in the 4900 and 5000 blocks of Melvina Avenue, he said.
Some of the signs read “Jews control BLM and Antifa” and “Jews eat babies.” Many again included swastikas and SS lightning bolts, which are common white supremacist and neo-Nazi symbols, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
This is at least the third time neighbors have reported cars vandalized with hateful messages this month, though officials said it seems to be happening in various parts of the neighborhood and there could be more that have been unreported. At least 45 cars were hit with hateful messages over the weekend of Nov. 4, neighbors and police said.
“It’s pathetic that some coward wants to sneak around in the middle of the night leaving messages that are hateful or vulgar to either scare members of our community or attempt to recruit new people to their sites,” one of the neighbors said Wednesday.
Samantha Nordstedt, a staffer with Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, said her office received the same complaints and are in contact with detectives investigating the case.
Detectives canvassed the affected blocks Wednesday. Neighbors with Ring cameras who have footage that could help the investigation can reach out to the 16th District CAPS office at CAPS016District@chicagopolice.org or 312-742-4480, Nordstedt said.
People can also submit an anonymous tip to police online.
Police officials have said they believe the same person is responsible for the signs and are treating the incidents as hate crimes. No one is in custody, and the investigation is ongoing.
“Hate and bigotry will never be welcome in our city,” officials previously said in a statement. “Chicago Police detectives are working closely with the Civil Rights Unit on an investigation into the signs found displaying anti-Semitic language. The Office of Community Policing is also in contact with leaders in the Jewish community as we work to support and advocate for those affected by this crime.”
Some of the signs list a website created by the Goyim Defense League, a hate group that has disseminated antisemitic flyers and misinformation in California, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado and others, CNN reported.
“While it’s troubling to see someone in our neighborhood targeting people based on nationality or religious affiliation, the fact that it has to be done in the middle of the night demonstrated that this community overwhelmingly rejects hate,” another neighbor previously said. “Our diversity is a strength, and we’re not going to let conspiracy theories or extremists divide us.”
United Northwest Side, an independent political organization, held a rally last week to “fight back against hate in our community” at Wilson Park, near where the first reported incidents occurred.
Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) said in a statement his office is working with the police to investigate the incidents.
“Hate of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our community or anywhere else for that matter,” Gardiner said.
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