NEW YORK (Dec. 2)
A campaign to reduce crime in New York City was launched in lower Manhattan at a rally of some 700 New Yorkers, most of them, Jews. The rally represented a cross-section of New Yorkers, from actors to elected officials and rabbis to small business operators. It was spearheaded by the Crown Heights Coalition, an inter-racial group organized to cope with problems in a racially-troubled section of Brooklyn which is the center of Lubavitcher settlement.
Rabbi Mendel Shemtov, co-chairman of the coalition which also led to formation of the New York Mobilization against Crimes, said that “everyone agrees that crimes are deplorable and criminals are reprehensible” but that “it’s mostly like the weather-unpredictable. Everybody seems helpless.” He urged all levels of government to move in against crime in New York and everywhere else in the United States.
The rally last Thursday grew out of the murder of Hassidic rabbi, David Okunov, 68 in Crown Heights last month. The organizers, describing the “chilling horror” of vicious crime in their neighborhoods, called for a review of the judicial system, a federal department dedicated to crime prevention, and “immediate overhaul” of the penal system.
City Council President Carol Bellamy, cochairman of Citizens Action on Crime, said “crime hurts everyone in our city.” Earlier in the day, civic, theater and labor leaders announced a campaign to “blow the whistle on crime” by educating New Yorkers on ways to protect themselves. The group is offering handbooks on crime prevention, TV and radio public service announcements and information on free crime prevention services by the Police Department.