Hate graffiti spray-painted in popular Chinatown intersection
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
Hate graffiti has been spray-painted in one of D.C.’s most popular areas multiple times in the past week.
In the heart of Chinatown, police are trying to track down the person leaving behind hateful messages in a well-known crosswalk.
"With all these people around here it's no wonder nobody has seen anybody," said Santo Buzzanca, who is a local musician in the area.
The DowntownDC Business Improvement District said the anti-Semitic graffiti has been spotted at least four times. The word, "JEW", has been drawn on the rats, which are part of the Chinese zodiac.
"It's senseless, I think it's really senseless they would do that," said Carlton Bowman, as he walked past the crosswalk.
Businesses near the intersection at 7th and H Streets NW are being notified. DowntownDC's ambassadors are also being told to keep a look out for any more graffiti.
"We've put our ambassadors on alert to look out for any kind of suspicious activity around that intersection," said Neil Albert, executive director of DowntownDC.
The Metropolitan Police Department said it is scanning through surveillance footage, patrols are being increased in the area and a person of interest has been identified.
The anti-Semitic graffiti first showed up last Tuesday.
“It goes without saying that we will not tolerate incidents of racial hatred,” said Rob Hawkins, communications director for Mayor Muriel Bowser, “ Upon learning of the latest incident, several District agencies were dispatched to the scene to remove the graffiti. The Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs and the Mayor’s Interfaith Council are engaging religious leaders in the area.”
"I think some people do it for shock value and sometimes they have nothing better to do," Buzzanca said.
Each time the graffiti has only been drawn in the rat, which leaves many to believe this is a possible hate crime.
"The downtown BID denounces any kind of racism, particularly the racist graffiti that was out there," Albert said.