Santa Fe police on Sunday were trying to determine who spray-painted a swastika on a wall outside an apartment where a Jewish man lives.
The victim, Jeff Hornstein, said he and his wife noticed the image outside their Dunlap Street home as they returned from dinner around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Hornstein, 58, said the swastika was not on the wall when they left around 6:30 p.m. that evening. He filed a report with the police department and the Anti-Defamation League.
“At this point, we don’t have any suspects,” Santa Fe police Lt. Sean Strahon said. “We don’t have anything else to go on.”
Asked about the motive behind the crime, he said: “Common sense says that’s not a normal thing to do and there would be underlying issues there.”
But until police find and talk to a suspect, they can’t classify it as a hate crime, Strahon said, so it is being classified as vandalism.
Hornstein said he wants to believe it was a random act of graffiti, but “I can’t convince myself it is a coincidence,” he said.
He said he didn’t plan to immediately remove the swastika.
“It’s important it not get painted over — out of sight, out of mind,” said Hornstein, who teaches English as a second language and works with the immigrant community. “It’s important people understand these things happen.”
The Anti-Defamation League reported 50 hate crimes in New Mexico in 2020.