Swastikas on receptacle in Highland Park prompts City response, police investigation
Highland Park police are investigating antisemitic vandalism found on the north side of town, according to statements released by the City of Highland Park.
Multiple swastikas and other antisemitic content was created using blue painter’s tape on a garbage can, according to Amanda Bennett, the City’s communications manager.
According to a Facebook post from a Highland Park resident, the can is located in the Hybernia neighborhood — which is just south of Half Day Road and west of U.S. Route 41 — and is used to feed swans in an adjacent pond.
Mayor Nancy Rotering issued a statement condemning the bigoted act.
“I am appalled and disturbed to learn about the antisemitic graphic pasted on a garbage can in the northern part of Highland Park,” Rotering said in her statement. “This act of hatred, bigotry, and cowardice has no place in our community. I condemn it in the strongest terms possible.”
She added that in addition to the police the town’s City Council and staff members are aware of the incident and taking “this matter very seriously.” Highland Park police reportedly are increasing their patrols.
“We want to reassure all residents and visitors, hate has no home in Highland Park,” she said.
The police department is asking anyone with information related to the vandalism to call (847) 432-7730.
Highland Park consists of a significant Jewish population. Demographic organizations have reported that between one-third and one-half of the city’s residents are Jewish.
In multiple incidents reported in 2022, antisemitic materials were distributed to numerous residences in Highland Park and several neighboring communities — including Skokie, Wilmette, Winnetka and Glencoe. They led to a spring 2022 rally in protest of antisemitism and all hate organized by local community groups, and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioner Scott Britton, who reportedly received one of the packets at his Glenview home.
A report from the Anti-Defamation League found that antisemitic incidents in 2022 rose 35 percent over 2021, when such incidents were already at record highs.
”Our city is built on principles of inclusivity, tolerance, and respect for all people, regardless of their background and beliefs,” Rotering said in the statement. “Antisemitism, or any form of discrimination, goes against the fabric of who we are and the values we hold dear.“
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Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319