Brooklyn neighborhoods still on high alert

November 7, 2011 Heather Chin
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As Brooklyn goes into its eighth month of a series of 19 sexualassaults and one rape – 12 to 13 of which remain unsolved – localresidents, police and elected officials continue to remainvigilant.

On Tuesday, November 1, safety guides entitled How You Can HelpPrevent Sexual Assault and Harassment were passed out at the 36thStreet subway station by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, StateSenator Velmanette Montgomery and Assemblymember Felix Ortiz.

The eight-page pamphlet includes definitions of sexualharassment and sexual assault; as well as safety tips for womenwalking alone and in groups; and contact information for localsafety escorts, police precincts and community groups andorganizations that offer free or low-cost self-defense classes andsupport services if you are the victim of a sexual assault.

The guide can be downloaded at

Meanwhile, the 72nd Precinct, which serves the neighborhoods ofSunset Park, Greenwood Heights, South Park Slope and WindsorTerrace, is now offering a Block Watcher program, CivilianObservation Patrols (COPs) and Block Associations to seriousgroups and individuals that are interested in working inpartnership with the police department to make our communitysafe.

COPs is a crime watch program staffed by responsible civilianswho volunteer to act as the eyes and ears of the PoliceDepartment, said the 72nd Precinct in a community newsletter.Volunteers – who must pass a background check — are issued COPs IDcards and jackets, and patrol their own neighborhoods and reportincidents that require police attention.

Block Watchers include any concerned citizens who call thepolice when they observe criminal activity. They do not have anyaffiliation with police besides registering for easy communicationwith officers.

Block Associations are residents who live on the same block,plan fun events and block parties, and also team up to addressquality-of-life issues. They are also requested to register withthe local police precinct.

If you are interested in joining or registering with any ofthese programs, call the precinct’s community affairs office at718-965-6326. You can also email [email protected] to receive emailupdates.

Other existing programs created by and for neighbors include anon-call civilian bike-buddy system called the Brooklyn Bike Patrol,several community e-newsletters, a text-for-safety-alert serviceand self-defense classes.

To request a bicycle escort from the Brooklyn Bike Patrol, callJay Ruiz at 718-744-7592 or email [email protected]. To learn moreabout Safe Walk or request a walking buddy, visit www.safeslope.orgor call 347-709-8852 on Thursday nights from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., andon Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m.

For information about upcoming self-defense classes, contactCouncilmember Sara Gonzalez’s office at 718-439-9012, or the Centerfor Anti-Violence Education at 718-788-1775 and [email protected].

Anyone with information about any of the attacks is asked tocall the Brooklyn Special Victims Squad at 718-230-4418 or the NYPDCommunity Affairs Bureau at 212-614-6745.

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