Police Investigating Vandalism at Newton Home as Hate Crime

A set of posters displaying Israeli hostages at a Newton home on Homer Street was vandalized on Sunday. Newton police are investigating the event as a hate crime.

“What we’re afraid of is that the destruction of property is the first step, and that what later on will happen is physical violence,” said Miriam Kosowsky, the homeowner.

Vandals ripped and spray-painted over the posters displaying hostages taken by Hamas, painting “Free Gaza” over part of the display.

“We denounce such behavior, and our community has no tolerance for such bias and hateful acts,” Newton Police Chief John Carmichael said. “We will investigate the matter fully and seek to prosecute anyone involved.”

The police department has since announced it is investigating six similar cases of vandalism that have occurred since Feb. 22, in addition to the instance on Homer Street.

“We will be adding extra patrols and are asking our community to remain vigilant,” the police department wrote in a Facebook post.

Three of these cases were signs reading “We Stand with Israel” defaced with the slogan, “Bombing Kids is Not Self Defense.” 

Police have narrowed down the time frame of the Homer Street case, but have no suspects yet, according to Kosowsky.

“They know what happened in the morning and they know it happened in a 45-minute block of time,” Kosowsky said. “They also have some video footage, so that is also helpful.”

Kosowsky plans to host an event to put up a new display of posters on April 7, which will mark six months since the Hamas’ Oct. 7 kidnapping of Israeli hostages on the Israel-Gaza border.

“Our thoughts are to have maybe a child each put up one of the hostage signs and just to give out other posters to people and other things, and just have it as just a community-wide showing that hate cannot prevail,” Kosowsky said.

The attention given to the vandalism at her home has brought attention back to the hostages, according to Kosowsky.

“Instead of sort of dehumanizing the hostages and erasing them, it’s brought their plight again to the fore,” Kosowsky said.

March 18, 2024