After recent security incidents in NYC in the aftermath of the Gaza war, the Flatbush Shomrim & the FJCC coordinated with the NYPD to deploy officers at strategic locations in the Flatbush community, including at Yeshiva dismissals. Police were visible all over the community, as resources were brought in from other parts of the city. YWN was inundated with reports of police cars at Yeshivas around the area during dismissal, as officers stood by to ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of Yeshiva children.
On Sunday afternoon, NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison joined a press conference in Boro Park led by NYC Mayor DeBlasio to denounce the string of hate crimes, which came on the heels of a high-level meeting on Friday with the Mayor and Agudath Israel of America at City Hall. Following that press conference, Chief Harrison personally visited the Jewish communities of Flatbush and Boro Park to hear first-hand concerns of local store owners and residents. The Chief was joined by Deputy Inspector Richie Taylor of Community Affairs, and Pinny Ringel of the Mayor’s Office.
The Chief first went to Pizza Time on Avenue J and East 14th Street, where he was greeted by a group of Flatbush Shomrim volunteers who have been patrolling 24 hours a day to assist the NYPD in keeping the community safe. Josh Mehlman Chairman of the FJCC relayed the deep concerns and fears of the Flatbush community to the Chief.
After a few slices of kosher pizza, the Chief walked up Avenue J to Coney Island Avenue, where he stopped into the “Table And Tennis” game room to play some ping-pong and shoot some hoops with local Yeshiva boys.
He also visited Essen Deli, as well as Eichlers Judaica on Coney Island Avenue, stopping to talk with local residents – some for 15 minutes each.
The Chief showed genuine concern about the issues presented to him, and pledged to work harder to bridge gaps between other nationalities and religious groups in the area and to increase the police presence.
Additionally, the Chief met with Jack Rothenberg, a Flatbush Hatzolah Coordinator, and flagged down a passing Flatbush Hatzolah Ambulance to thank them for their dedication to saving lives.
“Walking the streets of Flatbush and Boro Park today, hearing directly from concerned community members, I understand their fears and I will do everything in my power to help ease the anxiety and bring calmness to the communities, the Chief told YWN.
“I have ordered a full deployment of police officers because our responsibility is not only to keep people safe but also to make people feel safe.”
The FJCC’s Chairman expressed the community’s deep thanks to NYPD Brooklyn South Borough commanders, Deputy Inspector Richie Taylor, Commanding Officer Community Affairs, Lt. Yitzy Jablon Commander of PBBS Community affairs, the 61, 63, 66 and 70 Police Precinct commanders; Flatbush Shomrim; and in particular NYPD liaison Yehuda Eckstein for spearheading todays effort.
Chaskel Bennett FJCC Co- founder added, “all of our community partner organizations have been working together to secure our neighborhoods. We cannot let up. There are very serious security issues we are grappling with and we need our partners at the NYPD to do what they do best in order to keep us safe.”
Flatbush Shomrim Executive Coordinator Bob Moskovitz spoke to YWN and had nothing but words of praise for todays visit.
“I don’t remember a time when the highest-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD spent this much time in the community (nearly three hours!) walking around talking to regular pedestrians and hearing their issues,” Moskovitz said.
“The Chief really showed compassion and listened to people, many of whom are the children of Holocaust survivors. The overwhelming response by the NYPD today by deploying extra coverage in the area is something to commend the Chief on.
“The Chief listened to our issues that we encounter while patrolling the streets late at night, and thanked our volunteers profusely for their dedication,” Moskovitz added.
The Chief told YWN that people should remain vigilant and call the police if they see anything suspicious. Don’t wait until it’s too late! See something, say something!