TRENTON, NJ – A bill amending the three-year "New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program” that provides grants to eligible nonprofit organizations was signed into law on Tuesday.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) amends the three-year "New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program" to permit eligible nonprofit organizations to acquire target hardening equipment in addition to hiring permanent or temporary security personnel, in order to reduce vulnerability to threats, attacks, and other violent acts. Examples of target hardening equipment are cameras, barriers, and cyber security programs.
“The rise of hate and bias crimes in this state and nation is a disheartening reality in today’s world,” said Mr. Karabinchak . “This new statute provides necessary support to New Jersey’s non-profits and vulnerable faith communities who would feel the need to put in place security measures for their staff and the people they serve.”
The new law establishes a maximum grant award of $50,000 per target hardening equipment application. Applicants are permitted to apply for either personnel or equipment grants, or both, in each year of the pilot program, but the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) may only award funds for either personnel or equipment.
According to legislators, since enactment of the New Jersey Nonprofit Security Grant Pilot Program, there has been an alarming increase in the numbers of reported incidents of hate, bigotry and faith-based violence. These incidents, they stated, are a daily challenge for houses of worship, community centers, family and children services agencies and other non-profit institutions who are most vulnerable in an atmosphere of intolerance.
The Anti-Defamation League’s "Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents" highlighted that these incidents rose 32 percent in 2017 in New Jersey and occurred in almost every county, according to the bill. New Jersey had the third highest number of such incidents reported in the nation.
The New Jersey Attorney General reported that, in 2016, bias and hates crimes in New Jersey increased by 14 percent. Middlesex County reported the largest number of incidents, 80, which was a greater than 14 percent increase from 2015. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the greatest increase in religious-based crimes was against Muslims, an increase of 19 percent from 2015 to 2016.