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Posts Tagged ‘Shomrim’

Borough Park Shomrim Nab Bank Robber

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

A bank-robbing bandit was no match for a group of boychiks from Brooklyn, being arrest after an armed spree thanks to the assistance of the famous Hasidic Shomrim.

Entering a Brooklyn bank on Wednesday wearing a red skeleton mask and black gloves and brandishing a gun, suspect Kevin Crawford, 20, demanded $4,000 in 20 dollar bills and wished teller Maria Masallo “Happy f—king Halloween!”

The masked robber was soon followed by witnesses, only to be caught and held by Borough Park Shomrim volunteers, unarmed civilian patrollers from the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood whose mission is to thwart burglary, vandalism, mugging, assault, domestic violence, nuisance crimes, and anti-Semitic attacks.

Crawford allegedly held up the Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburg on Tuesday, making off with $1,960.

On Wednesday afternoon, he held up the Emigrant Savings Bank on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene, shouting curses at the teller.  When she did not immediately respond, he fled.

Police?…Or Shomrim?

Monday, August 13th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/police-or-shomrim.html

This is why I have problems with the Shomrim. I realize that they are very popular in the communities which they are located. But when they start protecting abusive husbands, it should give pause to even those who support them.

The issue in question is surveillance cameras that are being installed in the Boro Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. This publically funded safety project was initiated after the Leiby Kletzky murder. It will give police a far greater ability to prevent that kind of thing from happening again.  That should be obvious.

But Jacob Daskal, coordinator of the Boro Park Shomrim opposes police access to these cameras. He only likes the idea if his people have access to them without the police. From a Forward article:

“The camera is very good for the community, but if it’s a private thing,” Daskal said. “If it’s a public thing it might hurt a person who doesn’t want to arrest her husband for domestic violence.”

Daskal was referring to a hypothetical situation in which a wife sought to protect her husband by telling police that a reported domestic violence incident had not actually occurred. If a centralized system of cameras easily accessible to the police existed and the incident were recorded, police would arrest the husband regardless of his spouse’s wish. On the other hand, police would need a court order to obtain tape from a camera under private control, and an abusive husband could be kept out of jail if the police failed to pursue the case to that step.

Unfortunately Mr. Daskal seems to feel that as long as battered wife is willing to keep being battered, then it’s none of our business.

Does he not know that – as bad as it is to get beat up by an abusive husband – many battered wives prefer that to being without a husband altogether? And as a result allow the abuse to continue and even grow worse? Does he not realize that they will mistakenly blame themselves for the violence perpetrated by their husbands with phrases like “I deserved it”?  …that they will say that he is normally a wonderful husband but was provoked by her unfairly? …that he couldn’t control himself this one time? …or that he only gets that way when his is drunk? …or that he had such a bad day at work he couldn’t help himself? …that he is a loving husband and great father most of the time?

Does he not realize that battered wives often simply fear retribution from a husband who feels his wife betrayed him by allowing him to be arrested? And that they fear losing the financial support the husband provides.

Does he not know that sometimes the violence is so bad that wives have been seriously injured, hospitalized, and even killed in an out of control rage by a husband ? Or that the husband himself might finally be killed by the wife who knows no way out – fearing for her life if she doesn’t kill him first?

Has he never heard of “Battered Wife Syndrome”?

And yet what does Mr. Daskal worry about? The abusive husband being arrested against a battered wife’s wishes!

Let me make one thing clear. There is never any excuse to beat your wife. There is no excuse for it. There is no explaining it away or being Dan L’Kaf Zechus. Protecting an abuser from the police is tantamount to aiding and abetting him in his next and possibly more violent rage.

Mr. Daskal’s request shows that the Shomrim consider themselves better equipped to handle domestic violence than the police.

Really? Do all the Shomrim volunteers have the education and training to decide whether an  abusive husband should be arrested? Do they have the same experience with domestic abuse that the police do?

Shomrim can – and should be – an effective tool in aiding the police who are often too short staffed to be as effective as they’d like to be. Shomrim really  are – or should be nothing more than watch groups.

Those who volunteer to protect their neighbors by patrolling the streets give up their free time to do so. They ought to be respected and even praised for that. But once they start thinking they are better than the police, they end up hurting their cause instead of helping it.

Baltimore Jewish Youth Gets Three Years Probation for Assaulting Black Teen

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Eliyahu Werdesheim will serve three years probation for assaulting a black teenager in Baltimore in 2010, when he was a member of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood watch.

Werdesheim, now 24, avoided jail time for the November 2010 beating of Corey Ausby, then 15, the Baltimore Sun reported. Werdesheim was member of the Shomrim watch group at the time of the assault in the Upper Park Heights neighborhood, which is largely Orthodox but is adjacent to heavily African-American communities.

He and his now 22-year-old brother Avi were originally charged with false imprisonment and second-degree assault. Eliyahu Werdesheim was convicted on the two charges and faced up to 10 years in jail. His brother was cleared of all charges in early May.

The case had been the buzz of some local African-American radio talk shows and prompted a series of meetings between local African-American and Jewish leaders who were concerned about tensions between their communities.

Eliyahu Werdesheim Convicted, Brother Avi Cleared, in Baltimore Shomrim Case

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Eliyahu Werdesheim, one of two Baltimore brothers charged with beating an African-American teenager, was found guilty by a circuit court.

Werdesheim, a former member of Israeli special forces, was found guilty on charges of false imprisonment and second-degree assault, while his brother Avi was cleared of all charges in the beating of Corey Ausby in November 2010.

“He relied on his military training to take Ausby down,” Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Pamela J. White said in handing down her verdict on Thursday, according to the Baltimore Jewish Times.

At the time of the incident, Eliyahu, now 24, was a member of the Jewish neighborhood watch group Shomrim. Avi is now 21.

Eliyahu, was found not guilty on the charge of carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure but still could face up to a maximum of 10 years in prison for the other two charges. Sentencing is set for June 27.

Judge Won’t Drop Charges Against Baltimore Brothers

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

A Baltimore judge will not drop the charges against two Jewish brothers accused of beating a black teenager.

Judge Pamela White on Tuesday denied the motion to drop the charges against Avi and Eliyahu Werdesheim, according to The Associated Press.

The brothers have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon in the alleged beating of Corey Ausby in November 2010. They face up to 13 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.

At the time of the incident, Eliyahu, now 24, was a member of the Jewish neighborhood watch group Shomrim. Avi is now 21.

On April 26, White also denied a separate motion filed on behalf of Ausby to drop the charges.

“It was not your decision whether to bring charges against the defendants, it’s the state’s decision,” she told the teen, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The Sun reported that Ausby said on the stand, “I been wanting to drop the charges all the time, I didn’t even want to go through [this].”

Baltimore Brothers Face 13 Years for Assaulting Black Teen

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Brothers Eliyahu and Avi Werdeseheim are being charged with second-degree assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon in the beating of a black teenager they are alleged to have attacked while patrolling an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood as part of the Shomrim of Baltimore, Maryland.

The prosecution alleges that in November 2010, the boys surrounded a 15 year old boy, threw him to the ground, beat him with a hand-held radio, and patted him down.

The Werdeseheims claim they were acting in self-defense, and that the teen was holding a nail-studded board.  They have pled not guilty.

The brothers face up to 13 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.

Shomrim In The Face Of Danger

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

    Shomrim, volunteer citizen patrols, established in Jewish communities to handle quality-of-life issues, have been in existence for many years and are credited by local police forces for their key role in reducing crime. Not only are there active Shomrim patrols in Brooklyn’s religiously concentrated neighborhoods of Boro Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg and Crown Heights, but also thriving patrols in the Jewish communities of Baltimore, Northwest London and more. While these patrols are designed to monitor suspicious activity and report any potentially dangerous activity to the police, the recent shooting of four Boro Park Shomrim members in September is a chilling reminder of the inherent danger these dedicated volunteers face on a daily basis.

 

   Chaim Deutsch founded Flatbush’s Shomrim Safety Patrol 20 years ago at a time when crime was so prevalent in the area that according to Deutsch, “If you stood outside for a reasonable amount of time, you knew you would see something happen.” The 40-man Flatbush Shomrim team works closely with Brooklyn’s 61st, 63rd and 70th Precincts and they receive training from both Shomrim and the local police department. They patrol their 40-block district every night, keeping their eyes open for suspicious activity, which they then report to the police. Deutsch believes in quality, not quantity, and limits his team to 40 well-trained men, each of whom commits to patrolling one night a week and carrying a radio at all times, except on Shabbos and Jewish holidays.

 

   Boro Park’s Brooklyn South Shomrim Patrol, originally known as the “Bakery Boys,” also began 20 years ago, when a group of bakery deliverymen banded together to prevent the crimes that seemed to be prevalent in the area in the late night and early morning hours when bread deliveries were being made. Since then, the patrol has grown to include approximately 100 volunteers, encompassing all of Boro Park, Bensonhurst and Kensington. They work closely with the 62nd, 66th and 70th police precincts and have a close relationship with Brooklyn South Police Chief Joseph Fox.

 

   “We don’t stop anyone and we don’t put ourselves in jeopardy,” said Deutsch. “If we see something suspicious we call it in to the police. We are basically the eyes and ears of the community. Our responsibility is not to put ourselves in danger and if, G-d forbid, someone gets hurt it is a scar on our organization. Sometimes we do have to hold someone down if there is imminent danger but most of the time we just let the cops do their jobs. They have the guns, not us.”

 

(L-R) Chaim Scharf, Flatbush Shomrim task force coordinator; Noftoli Rosenberg, coordinator;

Chaim Deutsch, founder of Flatbush Shomrim; Akiva Klein, search and rescue coordinator

 

   Boro Park Shomrim coordinator, Simcha Bernath, follows a similar plan of operation. “We try not to have any contact with the perpetrators. We follow suspicious individuals and, if need be, we call the police. Let them come and apprehend the perpetrator.”

 

   What happened in September was an anomaly, according to Bernath. “Unfortunately we were in major danger and what happened, happened. We look at it as simply patrolling and trying to keep the neighborhood as safe as possible, but we found out that you never know. This particular perpetrator, no one would have ever thought he would pull a gun and start shooting in the streets of Boro Park.”

 

   In the wake of the recent shooting, New York State Senator Eric Adams provided Boro Park’s Shomrim with bulletproof vests but the Shomrim are still trying to decide whether or not to wear the vests while on patrol.

 

   “They have a lot of ups and downs,” explained Bernath. “We are looking into what our policy will be in the future.”

 

   The Flatbush Shomrim will not be wearing bulletproof vests any time soon.

 

   “I am against the vests for two reasons,” said Deutsch. “First of all, you might think you can put yourself more at risk because of the vest. We shouldn’t feel untouchable. We don’t carry weapons and we don’t expect to get into shootouts. A policeman’s job is to protect and they are armed. For them a vest is a second layer of safety. Second of all, a perpetrator who sees you wearing a vest will assume that you have a gun and will be more likely to shoot at you.”

 

   Volunteers are carefully screened and their references are scrupulously checked to ensure that Shomrim members are able to deal with the varying situations that they may encounter while on patrol. Aside from being ever alert for suspicious activity, Shomrim members are also trained to deal with non-medical emergencies, missing persons, children at risk, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

 

   In the aftermath of September’s shootings, Deutsch reports that no new safety measures have been enacted, as the wellbeing of the Flatbush Shomrim team has always been of paramount importance and as always, frequent meetings are held to ensure the safety of all volunteers. In Boro Park, while no major changes have been made, Shomrim are being provided with more training and encouraged to be even more vigilant and careful than usual.

 

 

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who has written for various Jewish newspapers, magazines and websites in addition to having written song lyrics and scripts for several full-scale productions.  She can be contacted at sandyeller1@gmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/shomrim-in-the-face-of-danger/2010/10/20/

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