NEW YORK (May. 27)
The Hassidic and other Orthodox Jewish residents of the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, who have been harassed in recent months by repeated muggings, assaults, robberies and other forms of violence, have begun patrolling the area in four radio-equipped cars, each manned by six husky unarmed men, in an intensive effort to put an end to the attacks.
The residential area, heavily populated by Orthodox Jews and dotted with small synagogues and yeshivas, is adjacent to the notorious Bedford-Stuyvesant section where a number of boys of the Lubavitcher Yeshiva there were attacked in front of their school several weeks ago by a group of 50 Negro youths.
Rabbi Samuel Schrage, administrator of the United Lubavitcher Yeshivoth, who organized the all-night patrols, said that about 120 Orthodox men had volunteered to man the radio cars which cover the area from sunset to dawn every night except Friday night. He said that non-Jewish volunteers, 12 white persons and eight Negroes, have volunteered to man the patrols on Friday nights.
The radio patrols, according to Rabbi Schrage, have been instrumental in three arrests since the system was set up last week. The cars, which are equipped with two-way radios furnished by a taxi company, are in constant communication with a headquarters set up by the group in a vacant store.
Police officials acknowledged that the crime rate had increased in the area but said that it was also true of other areas. They said that “extra police” had been assigned to the area in the wake of the numerous attacks directed at Hassidic Jews. They also offered to cooperate with the radio patrols.
The Brooklyn Jewish Community Council, representing 800 organizations in the borough, has demanded improved police protection. In a letter to Mayor Robert F. Wagner and Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy, Supreme Court Justice Emil N. Barr, acting president of the Council, said that in spite of additional police personnel, the Hassidic Jews of Crown Heights are still “prisoners at night in their homes, fearing to go out.”