The mention of a swastika painted on the side of a building will generally be met with the cry of “hate crime”…but is it always so?

Depends on the circumstances.

Last week there was a story in the news of a swastika drawn in chalk in front of the home of a rabbi in Western New Jersey.

At first, officials were going to investigate it as a hate crime, however, the rabbi felt it was an isolated incident…and didn’t think much of it since it was drawn in chalk, figuring it was just some dopey kids.

A buildings and grounds supervisor arrived at the William A. Miller Elementary School on Friday to find an unsettling sight: A swastika was among graffiti painted on the school, officials said.

Police were called to the school, and met with the supervisor, who said that between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Friday, the front and a side wall of the building were sprayed-painted with various markings, including “Yipz” “Young Yipper,” “Beast,” “Switch,” “Yamij,” “JS” and “SWCF,” Capt. Arthur Carullo said.

A small swastika also was painted on a window near door 13, he said.

“It’s being considered a bias incident because of the small swastika,” Carullo said. “At this time, we think it’s youthful offenders who probably don’t quite understand the seriousness of the symbol and how hurtful it is.”

Ok, being that the case, then why even bother investigating the incident as a hate crime?

Does the introduction of a swastika automatically mean the vandalism is some sort of bias intimidation against, perhaps, Jews?

Why not just view it as a youthful prank and not make anything more out of it?

Sort of like the aforementioned rabbi.