The Brooklyn Borough President and the District Attorney brought several community patrols and groups together recently to thank them for helping the police department to protect residents. Although they are not officers, they are often the eyes and ears of their communities.
One of those patrols is the Muslim Community Patrol, which began just two months ago in the Sunset Park Neighborhood, and it’s been integral to keeping the community safe.
"It is extremely important for every community to have their own community patrol because the community has its own culture, its own language, it has its own lingo, its own vibes," said Noor Rabah of the Muslim Community Patrol. “So something that [the community] would feel really uncomfortable speaking to a cop about, they know we are not cops. They know we are approachable. We can speak, mingle, talk."
Some of the groups have been around for several years, operating as neighborhood watches and crisis responders.
The city has placed what's called crisis intervention and violence interrupter groups in neighborhoods with a history of shootings. The de Blasio administration has given them credit for helping to reduce violence by using the formerly incarcerated as messengers of peace for younger people.
Speaking to the bonds the crisis intervention groups have forged with their communities, Wesner Pierre of Brownsville In, Violence Out said, "Where they were previously on the wrong side of the law and they have come to a space where they want to be the good in the community. And so that is a really critical part to change."
The Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says thanking these community patrols and groups is very important, but he says what they really need now is more money to help with their efforts in keeping the borough safe.
"It cost money to buy the uniforms, to put gas in vehicles, to buy the walkie talkies and other communication devices,” said Adams. “We believe we need to do more to assistant them."
Adams says there should be additional funding for these groups as the city sets its budget for the coming year.