New York’s Muslim community has joined the ranks of minority groups who have organized their own security-based patrols.
Decked out with insignia identical to that of New York City police patrol cars (except for the name), the Muslim Community Patrol (MCP) is watching over parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn that have large Muslim communities.
The idea of minorities groups guarding their own began in New York’s pre-Mayor Rudy Giuliani crime-ridden days when Jewish communities found themselves at the brunt of many muggings, robberies, assaults and anti-Semitic incidents with inadequate police protection.
Communities in Brooklyn formed a citizen’s patrol at the time called “Shomrim,” or guards. Since that time, Shromrim branched out to other cities, including Baltimore, and even to Jewish communities in the UK.
In 2014, a group of Asian-Americans opened a similar patrol in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, complete with walkie-talkies, uniforms and NYPD-style patrol cars.
The Asian group received training from New York’s police department, as well as support from Shomrim and the Brooklyn Community Improvement Association.
The group garnered praise at the time by NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant, who helped start the program when he headed up the local 72nd Precinct.
“They are our eyes and ears,” Grant said. “Language is a big barrier in the Asian community.”
The citizen’s patrols do not have the authority to detain people, rather they are to call 911 if they see anything suspicious. They also serve as a deterrent as well as providing extra eyes and ears to an often over-stretched police department.
Yet, the idea of citizen patrols does not come without up and downs, with incidences reported over the years where members have overstepped their authority.
And certainly, a patrol whose purpose is neighborhood safety is a far cry from sharia patrols in Germany, the UK and Austria that Clarion Project has reported on in the past. Or Antifa patrols, which have violently taken over parts of U.S. cities and harassed the public.
While violent crime in New York City has been steadily declining since 1991, other cities have not experienced such dips.
In addition, with police continually stretched, an increasingly polarized society and hate crime statistics ever-rising, specialized security groups like the new Muslim Community Patrol will most likely become part of more U.S. inner-city landscapes in the future.
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