Bike Patrol Protects Women Walking Home From Subway
By Paula Katinas
Sunset Park — The telephone hold music for the Brooklyn Bike Patrol is the theme song from the old “Batman” television series. But don’t be fooled by the moment of levity — these guys are serious about fighting crime.
Jay Ruiz, founder of the bike patrol, told Community Board Seven that he is looking to expand the safety escort program the organization has been operating since last spring.
“We service 28 subway stations. Very soon, we will be expanding to include more stations,” he told attendees at a recent meeting of Board Seven at the Sunset Park Courthouse.
Ruiz and members of the bike patrol, all of whom have received clearance from the 72nd Precinct police precinct, escort women home from local subway stations.
The patrol began on Sept. 14, 2011, in the wake of a series of sex assaults on women in Sunset Park and Park Slope that had begun in March. In many of the incidents, the attacker followed the victim from a subway station.
“On Sept. 13, I was watching a news report on NBC about a woman who was attacked. We started up our patrols the next day,” Ruiz told the Eagle in a recent interview.
Under the program, a woman can call the bike patrol and arrange for a member to meet her at a designated subway station. The member, on his bike, will meet the woman at the station and walk her home for her protection.
“If you feel threatened late at night, call us. We’ll be there,” Ruiz said.
The bike patrol operates seven days a week. The hours are: Sunday to Thursday, from 8 p.m. to midnight; and Friday and Saturday, from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
The service is free.
“We do accept cookies and chocolate!” Ruiz said.
Board Seven Chairman Fred Xuereb praised the service.
“It’s a great service. They meet you at the train station and escort you home by walking with the bike,” he said.
The bikes are used so that the patrol members can get to the train station.
The bike patrol currently serves women at 28 subway stations in Park Slope, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Kensington, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. To date, more than 60 women have requested the service.
“We have a lot of repeat customers,” Ruiz said.
Over the next few months, Ruiz plans to expand the service to cover additional train stations.
All of the volunteers have been prescreened by the 72nd Precinct, Ruiz said.
“The precinct has all of our information,” he said.
The bike patrol goes into several different precincts in different neighborhoods, but the 72nd Precinct coordinates with the group.
Ruiz has also set up a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrooklynBikePatrol) so that women “can see our pictures and know who we are,” he said.
The bike patrol has 10 members.
State Sen. Eric Adams recently purchased jackets emblazoned with the words “Brooklyn Bike Patrol” for Ruiz and his members.
For more information on the Brooklyn Bike Patrol, call (718) 744-7592.
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