Could we have prevented a tragedy?
by Ed Wendell
Aug 07, 2013 | 565 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the wake of last week’s horrific attack on a 17-year old woman in which she was stabbed repeatedly in front of her home, I have heard from a number of residents. Some are concerned, many are scared. One place all of us likes to feel like we’re safe is in front of our home, on our stoop. But for many residents, that feeling of safety has been shaken during this past week.

So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? Some residents have been calling for civilian patrols. The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association had a security patrol for years, and there are still many signs throughout our community warning potential perpetrators that residents are patrolling. But the truth is that there has not been a civilian security patrol in a long time.

Would a security patrol have stopped last Monday’s attack? Doubtful, but you never know. A regular, trained security patrol would certainly put more eyes on the streets. It would make a difference and help our local precinct apprehend vandals and burglars.

But in order to have a security patrol you need volunteers who are willing to give up at least one evening a month to drive around our community, keeping an eye on the streets. You would never be out there alone; you would be partnered up with a fellow resident and we would do this in conjunction with our local precinct.

We’d never be able to cover every single evening. But if we were out there enough evenings, and we were to get the word on the street that residents were patrolling, that we were watching the streets, then the bad guys wouldn’t know if we were there or not.

So a security patrol is on the table. But again, the question is whether or not we’d have enough volunteers to make it work. As you are reading this, ask yourself if you’d be willing to give up one evening a month to make our community safer. Let’s say that you’d be required to do one tour a month, from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. Just drive around with a few fellow residents watching the streets.

Ask yourself, would you sign up? Or would you prefer to let others carry the load? Unfortunately, my suspicion is that we have too many folks who will fall into the latter category and not enough who would be willing to step up.

But I would love to be proven wrong.

Drop us a line. Send us an email at info@woodhaven-nyc.org or call us and leave a message at (718) 296-3735. Or come to our next public town hall meeting next Wednesday evening, August 21, 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 89-02 91st Street.

Even if you’re iffy about the whole thing, come on down and ask some questions. Think that maybe you don’t qualify? As long as you can drive around (or be a passenger) you qualify. You will not be asked to confront anyone you suspect of committing an illegal act. In fact, that would be the first rule of patrol: stay in your vehicle. We would serve our community as extra ears and eyes on the street, not extra hands and feet.

So, there it is, are you interested in stepping up and serving your community? Do you want to be part of an effort to make it safer to live here?

Or do you want to wait for the next horrific incident, only to be left wondering if you could have done something to prevent it. This is not only a question for each individual, it is one that we as a community need to answer.

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