Shomrim (volunteers)

Shomrim (volunteers)

Shomrim organizations are volunteer civilian patrols which have been set up in many Jewish neighbourhoods to combat quality-of-life nuisance crimes. A number of neighbourhoods in New York have Shomrim patrols. They work closely with local police departments, who issue Shomrim members with official identification cardsFact|date=June 2008 as members a registered civilian patrol. Shomrim also acts as a liaison between the police and the local community and help by testifying as witnesses or assist complainants to get to court.

As a result of such patrols criminals are more likely to be apprehended. This in turn leads to a lower level of criminal activity in the area. Brooklyn police credit Shomrim patrols with playing a key role in reducing crime.Fact|date=May 2008

Williamsburg Shomrim aka WSPU

The Williamsburg Shomrim patrol, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, was started to protect members of the local community from escalating crime. It was founded by Mr. Avrum (Abe) Schwartz with the assistance of Rabbi Moshe Hoffman and is known to immediately respond to cries of "chaps eim" (Yiddish for "catch him") when a crime victim yells out for help. It has now become a full citizen patrol as part of the NYPD Community Affairs Division. Its members receive training in the laws of stopping suspects, as well as extensive training in search and rescue missions. Members are in radio contact, and dispatched via a central dispatcher. They investigate suspicious persons, assist residents with police matters, and conduct searches for missing persons. The primary areas are in the confines of the NYPD's 90th, 79th and 88th Precincts.

Following its success in crime prevention, other Shomrim patrols sprung up in other New York City neighborhoods, as well as other locales.

Boro Park Shomrim aka BSSP

The Boro Park Shomrim (BSSP) originally started as "The Bakery Boys" when a group of bakery delivery men noticed a surge of crime during their late night and early morning deliveries. It has now become a full citizen patrol as part of the NYPD Community Affairs Division. Their primary area is in the confines of the NYPD's 66th Precinct.

Crown Heights Shomrim aka CHVP

Crown Heights Shomrim, originally named Maccabees, was founded in the early 1960s by Rabbi Samuel Schrage, who saw a need for a Jewish patrol on the streets of Crown Heights.

The Maccabees switched leadership and changed names in the mid-sixties, under the guidance of Rabbi Mendel Shemtov. Now they became known as Shmira, but their job description remained very similar.

During the summer black-outs in the 1970s, numerous neighborhoods suffered from looters and thefts; in Crown Heights, the Shmira volunteers were out in full force, and not one store was robbed.Fact|date=May 2008

The vision for the organization was always to promote the safety and well-being of the Crown Heights neighborhood. As the needs of the community expanded, so did Shmira. While the organization had originally based its headquarters in 770 Eastern Pkwy, they soon moved to the buildings of the Community Council, a community-based social services agency. Operating under the umbrella of the Community Council bolstered the Crown Heights Shmira and helped it carry on.

The ingenuity of Shmira was soon sensed by other Jewish communities in the New York area, who embarked upon their own community patrol systems. In time, organizations known as "Shomrim" sprung up in Boro Park, Flatbush, and Williamsburg.

In 1996, after much discussion, Crown Heights Shmira organization made the tactical move to become "Shomrim" as well, affiliating itself with the Shomrim forces in other cities, while simultaneously maintaining their independence. Individual Shomrim forces will offer inter-city back-up and assistance when necessary, although each city's Shomrim operates according to its own internal structure and leadership. The Crown Heights Shomrim force maintained its original phone number, dating back to the organization's inception in the early sixties, symbolizing its commitment to being a stronghold for the Jewish community at large.

Careful records are kept, incidents are documented, and in many cases, photographs are obtained and kept on file. Various personnel are incorporated into the Shomrim staff, from EMTs to auxiliary police forces. Shomrim members wear distinctive shirts and hats, emblazoned with the Shomrim insignia, lending them a certain measure of authority. The vision for the organization has largely been realized, but it continues to be enhanced. As Zellermaier observes, "We do whatever it takes to make the community safer. We take it day by day."

Flatbush Shomrim aka FSSP

Flatbush is a neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York. The Flatbush Shomrim Patrol began when 23-year old Flatbush resident Chaim Deutsch was inspired by other volunteer patrols in adjacent neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

The Flatbush Shomrim patrol covers over 40 blocks. Volunteers who wish to join are screened by checking references and interviewing members of the community who might know the candidate. All volunteers must commit to patrol at least once a week and to be on radio call.

Flatbush Shomrim works closely with the 63rd and 70th police precincts. Flatbush Shomrim members also monitor the courts.

According to Chaim Deutsch, residents feel safer walking the streets in the evening and parking their cars as compared with a few years ago when their community was plagued with break-ins.


* [ Community Residents Lead the Way to Safer Neighborhoods]
* [ Relations between Shomrim and police]
* [ Baltimore Shomrim]

External links

* [ Shomrim Video ]
* [ Some Crown Heights Shomrim articles] from []

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