Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Crown Heights Shmira Stops An Armed Robbery and a Rape

The Crown Heights Shmira, or security patrol has been in the news a lot lately. In a widely reported story, the son of a New York City police officer blames an incident in which he was allegedly beaten and sprayed with mace on unidentified members of Shmira.
In an infamous statement reported in the New York Jewish week, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles (Charlie)Hynes likened the Shmira patrol to the Crips and the Bloods, two infamous street gangs. http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a8939/News/New_York.html
Hynes,who is elected to his position by popular vote has been accused by some of pandering for votes by racing to judgement against the Shmira patrol, and even threatening the rare step of convening a grand jury with sweeping subpoena powers.
Two recent incidents where African American crime victims were aided by Shmira complicate considerably efforts to portray Shmira as a lawless street gang. The first incident occurred around midnight on April 22, on Maple Street between Albany and Troy Avenues. Members of Shmira noted that a car service driver was carrying two passengers, one of whom had a gun to the head of the driver. The driver, fearful for his life managed to push open the door next to him and to jump out of the car. Shmira members grabbed him as his driverless car collided with parked vehicles. The priority of Shmira was to remove the driver from danger. With this objective, they brought him to the 71st Precinct, where with fortunately minor injuries he gave a report to police.
The second and more recent incident took place on the night on May 2. A young African American woman was coming out of the subway alone. She was forced at knifepoint to accompany her attacker to an apartment building when she was forced into a stairwell. She screamed for help as the attacker attempted to remove her jeans. Among the residents of the building, which is racially mixed was a member of Crown Heights Shmira. Hearing her screams, he grabbed his cell phone and traced the source of the screams. As he did so, he yelled,"Are you in need of assistance?" The assailant was frightened off, with the lone Shmira member in persuit. Realising that he could not catch the criminal, he returned to look after the victim, who was hysterical. The Shmira member quickly called 911. The police arrived quickly and took a complaint in the still open investigation. A detective who called the Shmira member the next day thanked him for arriving in time to save the girl from further harm.
New York City has five Boroughs. Each Borough has a District Attorney, of Which Charles Hynes is one. Hynes has the dubious distinction of heading the District Attorney's office with one of the lowest conviction rates in the state. New Yorkers struggle with a violent crime problem which seems to be rising again after a long standing downward trend under former Mayor Rudolf Giuliani. Stories involving racial tension have proven to be a time tested way of mobilising an apathetic electorate. Unfortunately, playing the crowd as Hynes does so adeptly does little to lighten the burden of beleaguered Brooklynites. Shmira has proven to be active in addressing these problems, as can be seen from the above noted incidents. Treating them as a street gang will provide little support to those who must return from Brooklyn subway stations.
Brooklyn police and people deserve a District Attorney who is fighting crime and not playing an audience. There is a real fear of rising crime that is gripping our city. Let's work together to fight it together.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing story, you should post more about this organization.
We need more of this kind, in the city, that is going on a downhill trend.

Mendy H said...

why hello there Yosef!

Sorry I didn't finish our conversation the other night. I wanted to call you to apologize. Anyways, I'll see you in shul next time.