JCRC-NY Updates on Novel Coronavirus

All of our public officials urge all New Yorkers to stay at home as much as possible and to keep a safe distance of 6 feet from others in public spaces to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

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Security/Emergency Information

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Security funding updates

While our concerns about anti-Semitic attacks remain high, this week brought three new funding-related announcements that will help us to protect our institutions. We will notify our Security and Alert List when applications become available. To join our list, click here.

All those who wish to apply for upcoming grants should pre-qualify for the state or federal grant applications through the Grants Gateway Document Vault. Those having previously pre-qualified should check if their file is up-to-date. Get more help from JCRC-NY here. Also check out our dedicated webpage for more tips on how to successfully apply for grants.

  • Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes.The JCRC-NY is deeply grateful to Governor  for the latest awards of $10M in New York State security grants to schools (pre-school – 12) and museums. Grantees benefiting from this program applied in December 2018.  The announced awards will help 207 institutions to protect their people and facilities against hateful attacks. As of December 23, 2019 there is no new application for the next round of grants and will notify subscribers to the Security and Alert List as soon as we learn of  the availability of another round of grants.
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Featuring a major victory for at-risk nonprofits, Congress completed the FY 2020 Appropriations Bills and the President is expected to sign them into law. This year, the team led by Rob Goldberg of JFNA’s DC office (including JCRC-NY and UJA-Federation as active members), successfully secured $90 million for the program, a 50% increase over the FY 2019 level:
    1.   $50 million will support NSGP-UA (Urban Area’s including NYC, Long Island and Westchester) projects; and
    2. $40 million will support NSGP-S projects (applicants outside the Urban Areas).

With the enactment of this legislation, the federal government will begin developing the FY 2020 program guidance and application (known as the Nonprofit Security Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)). Any at-risk 501(c)(3) organization (including houses of worship) can apply.

Our best guess is that applications will be available at the NY DHSES website in February or March. All NY organizations must apply through the process as outlined  by NYDHSES. We will notify subscribers to the Security and Alert List as soon as we learn of  the availability of another round of grants.

What’s a narwahl?

When training for an active attacker incident (they are not all shooters) the experts agree that that there are three options: run, hide or, if your life depends on it, fight using whatever is at hand to stop the attacker (see JCRC-NY’s) dedicated webpage www.jcrcny.org/activeshooter for more information)

During many trainings we’ve cited a June 2017 incident in the London Bridge vicinity. After ramming pedestrians and totaling their van, the attackers jumped out and wielded knives. They entered the Boro Bistro and were soon met with a fusillade of pub stools and pint mugs. The terrorists promptly exited. QED. Use whatever is at hand.

During an attack last week in the London Bridge area, the well-trained staff of Fishmonger’s Hall knew what to do in the event of an attack. They saved lives when jumped into action fighting off the attacker, even using a 5 foot narwahl tusk and a fire extinguisher.

Thanks to Carly Maisels for this detailed account. When we train our constituencies for active attackers our goal should be to empower them so that they can do whatever needs to be done.

Who might commit a mass killing? New insights.

One of the surest ways to prevent a mass shooting is to identify potential threats before they actually attack. Often the threats are “insiders”.

James Densley, co-founder of the Violence Project and a criminal justice professor at Metropolitan State University, said researchers looked at factors in the lives of shooters, including mental health troubles, whether they considered suicide, and how they had access to guns. These findings were reported in the New York Times/Associated Press:

“For a start, we need to be a little bit more attuned to the fact that people are in crisis, and are looking for help, and perhaps aren’t getting it.” Researchers found that 98 percent of mass shooters were men and that 52 percent were white. The proportion of mass shooters who had been diagnosed with mental health conditions was only slightly higher than the general population, according to researchers.

Importantly, school mass shooters are most often insiders. Here are more recent tools to help with threat assessments:

Posted in Active shooter

New concerns from ISIS-inspired lone wolves

According to some analysts, the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has the potential for violent reactions by United States-based homegrown violent extremists (HVEs). While there is no specific threat to the Jewish community or to the New York area, JCRC-NY recommends that Jewish institutions maintain heightened vigilance.

In a recent op-ed in the NY Daily News (Why ISIS remains far from finished: A warning from two leading counterterrorism officials), Ray Kelly and Mitch Silber observed, “The ISIS threat to the U.S. early on was mainly based on its ability, through cutting-edge use of social media, to radicalize and mobilize Americans to either want to join ISIS as a foreign fighter (with the latent threat to return to attack the U.S.) or to plot attacks at home on their own.”

This is a good time to review your facility’s security protocols to ensure that they reflect the current need for heightened vigilance. We suggest that you download JCCA’s Security Readiness:A Framework for Security at Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), YM and YWHAs, and Camps. The publication is a valuable tool for all kinds of organizations and the chapter on a “Security Escalation Plan” on pp. 42ff. features six indicators that should cause you to consider escalating security and the included checklist is a helpful template to build an effective response.

Keep safe.