A swastika was discovered spray painted onto the outside of an apartment belonging to a Jewish couple in Santa Fe, New Mexico over the weekend.
Jeff Hornstein and his wife found the Nazi symbol on the front of their home after returning from dinner at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Hornstein filed a report with Santa Fe police and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
He told the New Mexican that he believed he and his wife were targeted with the swastika for being Jewish. He also does not plan to remove it right away.
"It's important it not get painted over – out of sight, out of mind. It's important people understand these things happen,” he told the New Mexican.
Santa Fe police stated they do not have any suspects, and that they have no leads.
The graffiti cannot be classified as a hate crime until they speak to a suspect to determine the motive, said police. For now, it is being investigated as vandalism.
According to figures compiled by the ADL, the number of hate crimes in New Mexico increased 79 percent in 2019. That number is the highest recorded in 20 years.
“It is no longer surprising or shocking to see an increase in the number of reported hate crimes,” said ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin. “At the same time, we cannot let fatigue distract us from the important work of preventing hate crimes. It is intolerable to note a 79 percent increase in total hate crimes in New Mexico, as well as increases for nearly all targeted groups. Hate has no place in our society. ADL will continue to do all it can to defend Jews and all victims of hate and bigotry.”
In August, a Jewish couple who recently moved to Mountainair, New Mexico, a small town of 850 residents, were targeted with a burning cross on their lawn.
The burning cross has long been identified as a form of intimidation against Jews and African Americans used by the Ku Klux Klan.