Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jewish street patrols curb crime – and generate controversy 

Shomrim is not your typical neighborhood watch. For starters, the groups have a 24-hour hot line and dispatcher, their own marked vehicles, and a track record for dealing with everything from assault and battery to domestic violence.

“Everything that happens in the world happens here,” says Yossi Pollack, a senior Shomrim member, as we drive through the streets of Williamsburg peering down alleyways. “Our telephone number is just like 911 – they call us for everything.”

It raises the question: In a city like New York, with one of the largest and most respected police forces in the world, why not just call the cops directly when a problem arises?

“A lot of people in the community are a little apprehensive of the police,” says Binyomin Lifshitz, who, along with fellow Shomrim member Gadi Hershkop, took me on a separate ride-along in Crown Heights. “They don’t want to interact with the police unless they absolutely have to.”

And when that happens, adds Mr. Hershkop, “Shomrim is like the liaison between the community and the police.”

The members of these Jewish enclaves feel more comfortable dealing with their own, both for language (Hebrew and Yiddish are prevalent) and cultural reasons. Furthermore, many are descendants of Eastern European and Russian shtetls, where, more often than not, it was the authorities who were behind their persecution.

Like the traditional dress, language, and customs sustained in these communities for centuries, apprehensions of law enforcement endure, too.

Community leaders also worry about the police getting involved and locking up someone who might not deserve it. When it comes to Jew-on-Jew crime, Crown Heights Shomrim will always consult a rabbi before involving the police.

“It’s been for centuries that Jews settle matters internally,” says Mr. Lifshitz.
Yet the main focus of Shomrim seems to be protecting Jews from non-Jews. Williamsburg’s patrol, in fact, was started in 1977 by Rabbi Moshe Hoffman because he was tired of seeing fellow Jews fall victim to violent muggings.


"1972 - 1973 experiment in Kansas City, Missouri, to test the effects of preventive patrol. Fifteen patrol beats were included in the study:
five were control beats with normal levels of preventive patrol; five were proactive beats with 2–3 times the normal levels of patrol; and five were reactive beats, with no preventative patrol.
It is important to realize that patrol units would enter the reactive beats to answer calls whenever requested. After handling calls, however, these patrol units would vacate the reactive beats and do their patrolling in other areas. . . . When the data were analyzed, no significant differences were found on any of the indicators between the control, proactive, and reactive beats." This tells us that patrols have no effect on reducing crime rates. so why do this. and, 911 calls used for everything and not just crime, take away from effectiveness of crime deterrence. thats why NYC now has 311 and other numbers. let us learn from the studies and not waste our resources on outmoded and failed experiments.


Consult a rabbi before calling the police?

Why not consult a rabbi before calling the fire department?


"It’s been for centuries that Jews settle matters internally,” says Mr. Lifshitz.
REALY?! latest polls show that sex abuse among other issues, were NOT dealt with internally
And he should learn how to speak english if he is the liaison for the community.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog