California governor and presidential hopeful Gavin Newsom said the state will spend an additional $15 million to help with security at what he called “soft targets” such as houses of worship and nonprofits at higher risk due to ideology.
The money would be included in the state’s general fund budget proposal slated to be submitted to the state legislature later this month. The state already spends $500,000 on such projects around the state, down from $2 million in 2017.
Religious leaders in California want the state top spend on security guards, reinforced doors and gates, high-intensity lighting and alarms, and other security.
The announcement came two days after the shooting at the Poway Chabad Synagogue in Poway, Calif. The state was observing Holocaust Remembrance Day at the time of the attack.
John T. Earnest, 19, used an AR-style assault weapon to attack the synagogue. He surrendered to police and was charged with one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He is also being investigated in connection with an arson attack on a mosque in Escondido, Calif., in March. His family released a statement that read in part, “To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.”
According to the state attorney general’s office, data from hate crimes in California involving a religion increased 21 percent during 201, from 171 in 2016 to 207 in 2017. And, anti-Jewish events increased nearly 27 percent, from 82 in 2016 to 104 in 2017, while those targeting Muslims rose from 37 in 2016 to 46 in 2017.
Newsom was quoted in media reports as having said the budget allocation is needed. “That money pales in comparison to the need for mosques, for synagogues, for other institutions.” The state’s general fund budget stands at $144 billion.