The Anti-Defamation League of San Diego characterized both acts of vandalism as hate crimes.
San Diego Police Lt. Manny Del Toro of the Criminal Intelligence Department said the PB street tagging was discovered about noon Saturday, Jan. 26 at 843 Archer St. north of Turquoise Street.
“There was a swastika, then a penis, spray painted onto the street,” he said. “There were no witnesses. There was a Jewish person living on that block. They could have been the target.”
The other incident occurred more than a week later on Friday, Feb. 8 sometime between 7 p.m. the preceding night and 8 a.m. that morning.
“A very sloppy-looking swastika was carved into a car in the 5500 block of Bellevue Avenue in Bird Rock in La Jolla,” said Del Toro, noting detectives investigating both incidents concluded there was “no correlation between them.”
“Our unit looks for patterns, anything that might be systematic in these type of incidents that might warrant a more extensive follow-up,” added Del Toro.
The police lieutenant talked about what distinguishes hate crimes. “They cause people to live in fear,” he said, adding such crimes are tough to prosecute because “you have to have an eye witness.”
Hate crimes are investigated by a detective, said Del Toro adding, “They are handled as crimes of vandalism, but vandalism usually isn’t motivated by hate. We don’t want anybody to be living in fear based on their race, religion, ethnic background or sexual orientation.”
The ADL could not be reached for further comment.
Used by Nazi Germany as a symbol of aryan race identity, racism and antisemitism, the swastika is a geometrical figure tracing its origins back to ancient Asian Indian religions.