If you live in New Jersey and you hear the Ku Klux Klan mentioned, you might think of the South in the 1960s.

Think again.

According to a senior intelligence analyst for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the Klan and several other white supremacist groups are operating in the Garden State right now.

“Within New Jersey we have documented at least eight different white supremacist extremist organizations, including traditional groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and newer ones like Vanguard America,” said the analyst, who spoke to Townsquare Media news on condition of anonymity.

Vanguard America is described as a hate-driven white supremacist group by the Anti-Defamation League. The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security says it's tried to "rebrand" since 2016 in hopes of luring in more recruits who can help in its efforts to intimidate minority populations. That has included distributing materials on New Jersey college campuses.

The Homeland Security office notes its fundamentally bigoted credo — and its focus on "blood and soil," a favorite slogan of the Nazi party.

New Jersey 101.5 spoke to Vanguard's leader in September of last year about why the hate group seemed to be targeting central New Jersey — with banners and flyers at college campuses and in communities with large Jewish populations.

 

The analyst said these groups are loosely formed but most share the same ideology.

“Most white supremacist extremists believe in this inherent superiority of the white race, and they seek to establish dominance over non-whites through violence," he said.

He said in New Jersey, many white supremacists are involved in illegal activities, including drug trafficking and weapons violations, in order to fund the activities of their particular groups

At the same times, he said, out “white supremacist extremists have leveraged the internet for a wide variety of purposes including pre-planning of events, reaching out to sympathetic individuals and other supporters.”

“White supremacist extremists are moderate threat to the state of New Jersey. They will likely continue to commit crimes, distribute propaganda to recruit new members and attempt to intimidate minority members throughout the upcoming year," he sad.

He said that intimidation may include threats of physical violence, including death threats, and destruction of property.

“I think they use all different varying techniques. We don’t really weigh into this, we don’t want to disclose any sensitive information," he said.

The analyst pointed out believing in white supremacist ideology is not a crime in and of itself — but “if someone becomes aware of a white supremacist that is either advocating for violence or engaging in a violent incident, they should report that crime to authorities.”

Maureen Lancaster, chief of the NJOHSP intelligence division, said if you want to report any illegal or threatening white supremacist activity you may do so anonymously by calling 866-4-SAFE-NJ.

When asked how many white supremacists there are in New Jersey she indicated there is no specific number that can be made public, but "the activities of these groups are being carefully monitored by analysts, detectives and investigators.”

“They’re not a high threat like homegrown violent extremists would be. We consider them to be a moderate threat,” she said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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