Swastikas carved on several vehicles in Berkeley, police investigating as hate crime

Berkeley police are investigating a hate crime after someone carved swastikas into the side of several vehicles in North Berkeley.

This happened sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning on Monterey Avenue near Colusa Avenue.  

Jules Kragen found the disturbing sight on the side of his car Sunday morning.

"For me it’s very personal in that my parents were in the holocaust," said Kragen. "Eight of my aunts and uncles and three out of the four grandparents were killed. So it evoked a lot of sadness in me that this sort of racist behavior is still going on."

Three cars parked in a row were vandalized. A fourth car had a window smashed by a brick.

Jewish residents live in at least two of the households impacted.

Police are investigating this incident as a hate crime.

Swastikas were carved on several vehicles in Berkeley. Police are investigating incident as hate crime. 

Swastikas were carved on several vehicles in Berkeley. Police are investigating incident as hate crime. 

"Hate crimes are a priority for the City of Berkeley police department. They are a priority for our entire city," said Officer Byron White with BPD. "The sight of that alone understandably is very harmful to the community, very hurtful."

Officer White said they do not know who is responsible for the anti-Semitic vandalism. Police are asking anyone in the area who might have seen someone suspicious to contact them. They also hope neighbors will check security video from Saturday night through Sunday morning.

Kragen wants the person responsible to understand the weight behind this symbol. "I’d like them to know that this symbol was the symbol of mass murder. And that many people were killed in lieu of this symbol and it’s not a joke," he said.

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Kragen said it’s going to probably cost at least $1,000 to repair the damage to his car. In the meantime, he’s covering the swastika with a piece of cardboard, and said he has received a lot of support from the community.

"People have spoken out in solidarity and condemned the act for what it is. And it’s wonderful to live in a community like this where racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia are not tolerated."

Berkeley’s mayor Jesse Arreguin, sent KTVU this statement about the incident:

"A crime against one of us is a crime against all of us. I stand in solidarity with our vibrant Jewish community, and I’m coordinating closely with police to ensure the individual who carried out this cowardly display of hate is held accountable. Hate crimes will never be tolerated in Berkeley, this is a community that celebrates diversity in all its forms."