SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After several swastikas and other hate symbols were discovered around downtown Schenectady, one local rabbi and other faith leaders have a message for whomever is involved.

“Unfortunately, symbols of hate reappear constantly in our communities and around our nation. And what we need to do is not let them go unaddressed,” says Rabbi Matt Cutler of Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady.  

The Schenectady Police Department says the first call came in around 11:30 Tuesday evening. A swastika was drawn in chalk and discovered on the side of Saint Joseph’s Church on Church and Lafayette streets. “Subsequently we found some others drawn on local businesses in the downtown area. Also under a railroad bridge down here. It’s a very well surveilled area,” says Lt. Ryan Macherone of the Schenectady Police Department.

The other businesses hit were the Salvation Army and the Zen Asian Fusion Lounge on State Street. Lt. Macherone says the department is considering investigating the incident as a potential hate crime. “We’re considering it that way right now. We have to start there and see where the facts lead us.” 

As for addressing the symbols of hate drawn in the city, Rabbi Cutler says he and other faith leaders have come up with an idea to combat the hate.

“We’re going to respond with love. We’re going to ask people to decorate their homes; their sidewalks in front of their houses with symbols of love,” Rabbi Cutler says, “for every swastika and every hate symbol that is there should be 1,000 responses of harmony, love, friendship and dignity.”