MARBLEHEAD – The police think three incidents of hateful, vulgar and anti-Semitic graffiti found in separate locations around town over the weekend are “similar,” according to a press release from police Chief Robert Picariello.
The three areas hit by the hate graffiti include Crocker Park on Sunday, and Warren Road near Ware Pond, and underneath the bridge on Village Street, both on Saturday.
“This type of behavior is disgusting and has no place in our community,” Chief Picariello said in a statement. “I want to thank the residents that brought these incidents to our attention. We take all reports of hateful actions, racism and anti-Semitism extremely seriously and we will continue our investigation into these matters.”
“I am grateful to our community leadership, especially to the Marblehead Police Department, for keeping us apprised of the situation,” said Rabbi David Meyer of Temple Emanu-El on Atlantic Avenue. “The increasing incidents of hateful, racist, and anti-Semitic graffiti reminds us that the good people of our town always must stand together against prejudice and bigotry in all of their forms.”
On Thursday evening, the department issued a press release from Picariello saying the department was “investigating multiple incidents of hateful and vulgar graffiti in town that were located last week and are seeking the public’s help.”
The first incident described by police in its press release was reported around 6:50 a.m. on May 2, drawing officers to Crocker Park, which is located on Front Street. There, they found what is described as “vulgar graffiti scrawled in large block letters with black spray paint on a pathway.”
Police searched the area of the park but did not locate anyone who may have been responsible.
Police are saying the graffiti incident in Crocker Park was similar to that discovered in two other locations in Marblehead the day before, on Warren Road and in the vicinity of 31 Village St. under the bridge.
At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, police received a report that someone had spray painted anti-Semitic and racist graffiti in white spray paint on a boardwalk.
Later that day, after a report at 10:50 a.m., officer located graffiti under the bridge on Village Street and located anti-Semitic language spray painted on the ground in large block letters in black spray paint. Police say the incidents may be related, and they are asking anyone with information about these incidents or who has noticed suspicious activities in these parts of town to call police at 781-631-1212.
Marblehead has been the site of numerous anti-Semitic incidents in recent years. Marblehead Police are still investigating an event that took place nearly two years ago when a police officer allegedly scratched a swastika in a fellow patrolman’s personal car. Last year, anti-Semitic slogans were painted on rocks at Preston Beach. In 2019, Temple Emanu-El’s video surveillance system recorded a man posting Holocaust denial flyers on the temple’s grounds. In 2017, anti-Semitic and hate slogans were painted on the town’s causeway. In 2016, the phrase “JEWS DID 9/11” was raked into the high school’s athletic field. To date, there have been no arrests for these incidents.
The incidents were reported within a week of the Anti-Defamation League’s annual audit that tracks anti-Semitic incidents in the region. The report found that “anti-Semitic incidents remained at historically high levels in the New England Region in 2020,” though incidents were down from 2019 levels. The ADL tracked 35 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in Massachusetts in 2020, which was second only to incidents of harassment (38) in the Bay State.
The graffiti over the weekend came less than a week after racist and anti-Semitic graffiti was found on a path on a remote part of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Abington.
Steven A. Rosenberg contributed to this report.