Swastikas drawn in city park

Long Branch — Police are investigating a case of vandalism where swastikas were drawn in a Long Branch park.

According to the Long Branch Police Department on July 20, around 7:30 p.m., an officer was dispatched to the West End Park for a report of vandalism. The officer then received information that a concerned citizen notified the police department regarding swastikas that had been drawn in several locations throughout the park.

An investigation revealed that six swastikas were drawn, three on a vinyl fence, and three on park equipment. They were approximately two to three inches tall and written in what appeared to be permanent marker.

A Forensic Detective was called to the scene to conduct further investigation. The scene was processed, and the Long Branch Department of Public Works responded, removing all traces of the vandalism.

Mayor John Pallone stated, “I am very upset to find out about the recent vandalism at the West End Park. When first hearing about this incident, I immediately went to the scene and was deeply disturbed by the hateful markings displayed in our park. This antisemitism and racial prejudice have no place in our society or in the City of Long Branch. We will not stand for this.”

The Monmouth County Prosecutors Office has been notified, and the investigation is being conducted following bias incident protocols.

“Patrol Checks have been increased in the area. At this point in the investigation there is nothing to indicate that this is anything more than a random act of vandalism, but we encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately,” said Long Branch Police Det. Capt. Frank Rizzuto.