SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s not uncommon to see graffiti along spring run trail in Saratoga but this week a swastika and found and even more troubling, it was the second one found in just two weeks here in Saratoga Springs.
“We’re better than that and we know better than that and I’m fearful,” Cindy Swadba, volunteer at Saratoga Pride, said.
Swadba has lived in Saratoga Springs for 30 years and says never has she seen so many messages of hate crop-up in her city.
“I believe that our president-elect has given permission given people permission for this kind of behavior.”
This week walkers at Spring Run trail notified police about a troubling symbol, just off the path, spray painted in red, a swastika.
“Just by its nature a swastika painted someplace is concerning and it’s ruffled a lot of feathers,” Robert Jillson, of the Saratoga Police Department, said.
The first swastika showed up on the crosswalk of Granger Avenue, spray painted in red, just like the other one. It was quickly covered up by a message of love.
Without surveillance cameras in the areas, police say finding those responsible will be tough. It’s impossible to know if they were motivated by real hate or just trying to stir the pot.
Either way, Mayor Joanne Yepsen says it goes beyond vandalism and speaks to the divisive presidential campaign.
“More hate than ever before,” Mayor Yepsen said.
This week another example, a gay man posting on Facebook a homophobic note left on his husband’s car and his rainbow Mickey Mouse antenna topper destroyed.
“Horrified, I know the people it happened to and I think we’re in a very dangerous time,” Swadba said.
Since the election, Governor Andrew Cuomo says there’s been an “explosion in hate crimes including graffiti on a softball dugout in Western New York saying ‘Make America White Again’.”
It’s prompted the state to create a special police unit and Mayor Yepsen to consider a human rights resolution.
Swadba says the only way to fight the hate is with love.
All of the hateful graffiti has been covered up and governor Cuomo has started a hate crime hotline.