Knockout game players may soon have some competition.
A Jewish group in New York City has offered a $5,000 bounty on people who play the game, which consists of attacking innocent bystanders with a goal of knocking them out with a single punch.
The game has been reported in a host of American cities. Many of the attacks — especially those in New York City — have been against Jewish people.
The Jewish Community Relations Council, a group that coordinates activities among many Jewish organizations in the city, is now “offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of ‘knockout’ attacks,” David Pollock, Director of Government Relations & Security at the JCRC, told The Jerusalem Post.
The organization has also increased patrols in neighborhoods where the Knockout Game has been reported.
“The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is also addressing school students in Brooklyn neighborhoods that hate crimes are not a joke that perpetrators of hate crimes could end up ruining their lives,” Pollock said.
Eli Leidner, a 26 year old hasidic man, was one of those assaulted. He said he was walking in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood when a woman attacked for no reason.
“Two people came at me and the woman hit the front of my face like this. They just laughed afterwards and ran away, they didn’t say any words,” Leidner told the Daily Mail after the attack.
Though reports of the Knockout Game have been confirmed and perpetrators admitted to playing it, some experts say the severity of the movement is overblown. They note that violent crime has actually been going down and is at its lowest point in years, and that the instance of street violence is not new at all.
In some ways, the Knockout Game seems to have grown from another social media-fueled craze made popular in recent years. Groups of teenagers have organized in “flash mobs” that attacked strangers and pilfered stores. In one attack, a group of teens stole $3,000 of designer jeans from a Chicago store in just minutes.