Edgewood’s Packing

by Paul Bass | June 11, 2007 5:06 PM | | Comments (87)

Rabbi%20Daniel%20Greer.jpg
Yeshiva%20Edgewood%20Park%20Defense%20Patrol.jpg(Updated 6:13 p.m.) Members of a politically influential yeshiva led by Rabbi Daniel Greer (pictured at top) — who have spent more than a decade rebuilding their stretch of Edgewood — have organized an armed citizens patrol.

They made the announcement Monday afternoon at Yeshiva of New Haven (aka The Gan School) on Elm Street. They plan to begin patrolling Monday evening in two-person teams wearing “Edgewood Park Defense Patrol” T-shirts and carrying concealed, licensed firearms.

The patrols are scheduled to run from 6 to 10 p.m. daily in the area bounded by Norton Street, Edgewood Avenue, and West Park and Whalley Avenues.

That’s the neighborhood where Greer’s organization has rehabilitated 40 old-style New Haven houses and planted 450 trees over the past 18 years. It surrounds the old Roger Sherman School, which Greer’s organization converted into an Orthodox Jewish school. The organization has also worked with neighbors to combat prostitution in the area, instituting a successful “John of the Week” effort which featured pinched patrons’ names on flyers.

“We are unwilling to give up,” Greer said at Monday’s announcement in a classroom on the school’s second floor. Family members from the yeshiva as well as neighbors — including Alderwoman Liz McCormack and 24th Ward Democratic Co-Chair Hank Campbell — joined him.

“We can fix all the houses up. We can plant trees. But if we cannot walk our streets securely, all our efforts are for naught,” Greer said. Rather than be victims or depend any longer on the police department, he said, the group is determined to tackle crime head on.

Click on the play arrow at left to watch Greer speak about the decline of community policing.

A longtime ally of Mayor John DeStefano, Greer did not alert City Hall in advance of plans to announce an armed patrol. Greer did communicate, repeatedly, his dissatisfaction with Police Chief Francisco Ortiz. Monday he called Ortiz the “Donald Rusmfeld” of the police department.

“There’s only one solution — to remove the chief,” Greer said. “He’s a very sweet guy. I would love to have drinks with him. But he cannot run the police department.”

Asked about the armed patrols right before the press conference, DeStefano said he had no comment yet because he hadn’t known about them.

After the press conference, DeStefano backed Ortiz and disagreed with the patrol idea.

“The chief has my full support. Chief Ortiz is doing a good job,” DeStefano said.

Anyone who patrols the street with a gun “is putting themselves and others at risk,” he said.

Ortiz couldn’t be reached for comment.

Greer — a former city police commissioner — observed that crime had declined dramatically during the heyday of community policing in the 1990s and early years of this decade. In the past three years assaults have been on the rise, as well as shootings.

Dov%20Greer.jpgThe last straw for the group came Sunday night, when Greer’s son, Rabbi Dov Greer (pictured), was assaulted by young men right outside his house on Elm Street. Dov Greer said the men accosted him on the street and followed him into the house, where they beat him before fleeing as he called upstairs to his wife to phone the cops.

“There’s going to be authority. There’s going to be control,” his brother, Eliezer Greer, said. “There’s going to be rule of law on the street.”

Eliezer heads the Edgewood Neighborhood Association, one of the not-for-profits the yeshiva group formed to buy and renovate homes. He said he was carrying a registered weapon at the press conference and would take part in the patrols.

Click here to read the group’s press release.

And click on the play arrow at left to watch Eliezer Greer describe his vision for the patrols.

Alderwoman McCormack said she hadn’t known prior to coming to the press conference that the group’s plans include armed patrols.

Asked if she supports the idea, she responded, “I have to think about it… Something needs to be done.”

“One of my neighbors was mugged in the park. He was told to carry mace with him. I told him not to do that. It could be used against him,” she said.

Later, the mayor’s chief of staff, Sean Matteson, attacked McCormack for endorsing the civilian patrol idea.

“Just two weeks ago Liz voted to push back a new class of police officers in the budget. Now she is contradicting herself politically by calling for civilian patrols. Her reasoning makes no sense to me; it is irresponsible reactionary policy,” Matteson stated in a City Hall press release.

The rest of the release quoted the mayor. It read:

“We regret the attack on Rabbi Greer’s son. We have reviewed police deployment in that neighborhood. As we do throughout the entire city, we have increased the number of walking beats in that neighborhood and continue to assign officers to this type of patrol. In fact, the victim was in contact with an officer who was walking the neighborhood shortly before the incident and immediately thereafter. The first officer to respond was one of these walking patrols. Crime statistics in Edgewood are down and are lower than they’ve been in the past.”

“I have complete confidence in the Chief, Commanding Officers and the District Manager for this neighborhood.”

“In response to proposed armed civilian patrols, I believe that individuals who carry weapons with the intent of enforcing their view of appropriate behavior in the neighborhood is a recipe for disaster.”







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Posted by: charlie | June 11, 2007 5:15 PM

I'm not sure this actually makes the neighborhood safer, unless the criminals are actually shot and killed, but I suppose it's up to the neighborhood to decide that. I recommend bullet proof vests and good gun training for the patrols. I also hope that the criminals who attacked this innocent man get caught and sent to prison for many years.

Posted by: JMAC | June 11, 2007 5:36 PM

Don't you realize that fixing up homes and planting trees is merely just an aesthetic trick - which can't solve neighborhood and citywide issues that may be beyond your control.

This move is absolutely ridiculous! Keep your guns off my block, Edgewood Avenue.

Posted by: THREEFIFTHS | June 11, 2007 7:05 PM

Rabbi Greer Use To Work For Mayor John Linsey In New York as A Deputy Mayor. This Type Of Patrol Is Comom In The Hasidim Community In Crown Heights In Brooklyn New York And It Is Stiil In Effect In Crown Heights. The Problem With This Type Of Patrol Was At Times People Of Color Were
Racial Profile And Some Of The People Of Color Who Lived In Crown Heights And There Vistor Was Harass. This Could Be Very Dangerous Because This
Patrol Can Turn Into Vigilantes.

Posted by: JMAC | June 11, 2007 7:57 PM

Three Fifths -

I agree that this could be dangerous situation, especially if racial profiling becomes involved.

But even if this kind of block patrol is common - in communities like Crown Heights in Brooklyn - they have historically worked in collaboration with the police.

This group seems very angry, hostile, and also unwilling to even work in a collaborative capacity with the NHPD or other Westville/Edgewood residents.

Despite that, the escalation of groups of people maintaining control over their neighborhoods seems like adding violence and fear to a cycle that will not end...

Posted by: Ant Live | June 11, 2007 8:51 PM

I Say, If the cops can't handle the job; then we have a right in this society to patrol our own streets.

We have a right to bear arms in this country. As long as the patrol's are carried out with the intent to do good, I say GO FOR IT!!

Posted by: Appalled in New Haven | June 11, 2007 9:27 PM

What a disgrace a Rabbi and so called leader in the community starting a program full of criminal intent .
Arm the citizens of the Edgewood area and solve all your problems( I don't think so). Put blame on Chief Ortiz the one who promotes all kinds of crime prevention programs within this city. This Chief works hard to solve the communities problems by working with management teams and block watches, and has shown he is not afraid to find the resources to achieve his goal.
The law abiding citizen groups like the Cedar Hill people who work in a positive way with their police to solve problems and other organized groups around the city should all stand up and condemn this call to action.
Actions like this set us all back to the late 80's when groups around the city wanted the New York chapter of the Guardian Angels to come to New Haven and set up camp. That type of program didn't fly then and shouldn't fly now.
Shame shame Rabbi Greer and Sons, I think you should start thinking like most law abiding groups in New Haven and stop grand standing and start working the positives that are outside your door. Work with the police not against them. Only then will you gain peace in your neighborhood.

Posted by: KAMB | June 11, 2007 9:39 PM

I applaud Rabbi Greer. He is a man who wants to take an active step towards being part of the solution in his city and he is putting his money where his mouth is. If every good law abiding citizen had the same strong beliefs in their community, crime would not exist on the streets.

And Rabbi Greer's take on the Chief Ortiz is right on. Everyone knows he is a puppet. He has no control over the police department. Thats why his own rank and file voted a no confidence vote against him years ago. They have no faith in him. The police cheif should embrace citizens who want to protect their community. Citizens of New Haven should be outraged and angered that they have become the victims of crime and in some neighborhoods, prisoners in their own home because violence runs wild on the streets. The cops cant do it alone. Good luck Rabbi!

Posted by: BBerkowitz | June 11, 2007 9:43 PM

Ortiz needs to respond to the needs of this neighborhood or our police department is going to have a lot more work on their hands.
One group of people going out into the streets with guns will only provoke a criminal to arm themselves more thoroughly in the future.
These armed patrols are not police and criminals will not treat them as such.

Posted by: Robert | June 11, 2007 9:53 PM

The problem is that the "People of Color" are profiling the "People of Religion" for attack. So now the POR's are returning the favor to the POC's. I can't imagine anything more fair than that.

I suppose if you saw a Nazi or an Al Sharpton leading a mob up your street you might be inclined to defend yourself by any means necessary.

Hey JMAC, where do you live? We'll send them over to party at your place!

Posted by: Ned | June 11, 2007 10:06 PM

Wow, won't this drive the gun control people ballistic. Although, I suppose, for the Neville Chamberlain crowd it is better to just be beaten and robbed and driven out of one's home than it is to risk offending someone. Obviously the police can't control crime anymore than they can control the weather. Note to JMAC: both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Connecticut guarantee the right to bear arms, so, are there any other Constitutional rights you'd like suspended on "your" block (where your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are already being curtailed by criminals)?

Posted by: JMAC | June 11, 2007 10:15 PM

Just after 10pm, just home now after driving on Elm Street, down Norton Street and then onto Edgewood Avenue. And there wasn't a pair of Edgewood Park Defense Patrol members in sight.

If they can't brave the pouring rain in the name of neighborhood security, how can they continue to make such bold assertions about the "lack" of community policing?

Were they afraid that the rain would rust their registered guns?

Posted by: gattsuru | June 11, 2007 10:33 PM

I don't see the inherent issue here. You have a group of people with a visible leadership, explicitly stating that the purpose of their actions is to enforce the law -- and, hell, they don't even state an exception for themselves, a nice change compared to official channels.

How is this inherently wrong? The law has protected and recognized the ability of common men and women to arrest anyone committing a felony since the dawn of the United States, and this remains true whether you're in Texas or the liberal meccas. The right to arms is recognized in both the State and Federal Constitutions. Putting two and two together is far from difficult.

They're politically opposed to some of the local police leadership? Horror of horrors! We must stamp out that nasty freedom of thought.

I could understand the complaints if, say, the vigilantes involved were violating the law themselves, or suggest that they were going to do so. But there haven't, and they don't look to plan to do so.

Endless platitudes about the "cycle of violence" are nice and all, but neither effective in stopping the "endless cycle" of easily applied violence against those who can't protect themselves.

Posted by: Richard | June 11, 2007 10:36 PM

This type of citizens' patrol is a rational response to a problem that government refuses to tackle effectively. In fact, the privatization of security is becoming more widespread (I predict its continued growth) in direct proportion to government's default. New Haven may lack the political will (likely) or the budget (also likely) to implement a "Broken Windows" policy ala Rudy G. But what is clear is that safety, as a commodity, is more valuable to some citizens than others, hence, the willingness to pay twice for it--once in taxes and again through private patrols. If the police were wise they would do everything possible to cooperate with private security just as they do in large office buildings, gated communities and security services guarding sensitive factories.

Posted by: Rod Stanton | June 11, 2007 10:42 PM

I have said for over 40 years that Meier Kahana was right. This is more proof how well he understood the problem. Oy!

Posted by: Chuck Pelto | June 11, 2007 10:47 PM

TO: All
RE: Things to Come

National Night Out is 7 August 2007. The idea of that is for everyone to get out and 'patrol' their neighborhood.

Looks like these guys got the 'jump' on the idea.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[It's a dirty job, but someone has GOT to do it. Especially if the police can't.]

Posted by: Laika's Last Woof | June 11, 2007 10:56 PM

The key question to ask here is "compared to what?"

Compared to what is "escalation" and "adding violence" a bad thing?

A "cycle of violence" is far preferable to a cycle of victimization of helpless citizens by emboldened criminals.

You talk about "escalation" as if it were somehow intrinsically wrong or bad. Whether or not escalation is wrong depends on the relative consequences of appeasement.

Posted by: Blackdog | June 11, 2007 11:00 PM

In case anyone missed it, Eliezer Greer apparently said:

"'There's going to be authority. There's going to be control . . . There's going to be rule of law on the street.'"

I can't decide:

1. Is he seriously claiming that his group has the authority to provide rule of LAW!? (Ummm, remind you of the mafia, anyone? And forget democracy, ha!); or
2. Is he simply ignorant of the definition of "vigilante"?

In case it's the latter, I've posted that definition below. Mr. Greer and supporters, please direct special attention to "suppress" (though it's hard to imagine such a group would stop short of "punish" as well if they felt they could get away with it...).

Give me a break. How about supporting DeStefano's attempt to bring back community policing instead of taking to the street with weapons?? Check it out: www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CommunityPolicing.asp

___________

Vigilante: "a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate); broadly : a self-appointed doer of justice"
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/vigilantism

Posted by: Fletcher | June 11, 2007 11:01 PM

All these fine disaproving statements, but nothing to help solve the problem. What do you suggest, sitting at home, ringing your hands, and hoping the problem goes away? If you can't help,just keep your mouths shut as these responsible men take care of their community.

Posted by: Gary Doyens | June 11, 2007 11:02 PM

The City Hall attack dogs are on the loose -- yapping and barking -- as usual. How about knocking it off and start recognizing there is a problem. Last week, Robert Smuts denied there was a crime crisis in response to a Newton request that the Yale study on youth violence be released. Smuts had been hiding the study in his office for months. Now, DeStefano's chief of staff, Sean Matteson says there is problem and shame on anybody who voted to delay a police class by a few months to save taxpayers a few crumbs. The same Matteson, DeStefano and their enablers on the NH BOA couldn't cowboy up any significant spending reductions -- which as a result will increase property tax bills , by some 12% this year, according to City Hall.

Question: Which is it? Is there a problem or isn't there? Can Ortiz handle this job or not? Do the statistics bear out that crime and these types of attacks are on the rise or going down?

I'm fed up with the status quo and stay the course mentality in Washington -- do we really have to put up with it in New Haven too? All we're missing is: "You're doing a heck of a job."

Posted by: nfjanette [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 11, 2007 11:34 PM

JMAC - how can you have opinions based upon assumptions of intent for the patrols? What facts do you have regarding your accusation of planned racial profiling? There is certainly the potential for causing problems with any citizen patrol, but there is also the potential for improving security in the area - and I'll take that from whoever delivers it. No one else has done so at this time - and I'm not denigrating the efforts of the many fine officers on the police force. The management at the city level, however, is another matter.

I don't speak for my neighbors at the Yeshiva, but as a local citizen I'm certainly "very angry" to use your term - but I'm not hostile toward the police, and I don't believe the Greers are either. I know for a fact they regularly attend the monthly management meetings at the local police substation. I would hope the police department and the patrol would coordinate efforts so that the patrol extends the eyes and ears of the limited manpower available at the department. That may the the single most valuable contribution of the effort - an active, patrolling block watch.

However, I'm angry that the police department has been unable to put enough manpower on the streets to keep this area safe. I'm angry that it's not safe for my kids to ride their bikes in the area lest they be assaulted and/or their bikes stolen. I'm angry that Liz McCormack and city hall haven't taken on this issue every day, every night until it's solved.

While the mayor is playing his fiddle in the limelight against federal immigration laws, New Haven is burning. Perhaps the mayor's office can offer ID cards to the criminals assaulting local residents so they can use the library instead of committing crimes. Wake up, Mr. Mayor.

Posted by: red | June 11, 2007 11:34 PM

...violence and fear to a cycle that will not end...

Shame on you for trotting out moral equivalence of the predators and the 'preyed upon' citizens. Would you have the same equal approach if you were the crime victim?

I laud a neighborhood taking responsibility in the very sad situation where the local government cannot/will not provide safety to its citizens.

Posted by: Jeff | June 11, 2007 11:47 PM

Bring it on! I want more guns, more citizen patrols, and more vigilance committees. The legal justice system has failed us, has victimized us, and has left us helpless in the face of career criminals with rap sheets a mile long.

Don't you idiots remember not having to lock your doors at night? Not having to worry about your car getting broken into or stolen? Remember as kids having freedom of movement that you can't give your own kids today? It is time for a little street bloodshed, and let the predators do the bleeding for a change.

Posted by: Keith | June 11, 2007 11:48 PM

This rabbi should be commended for protecting his people. What a great man! We need more people like him in this country.

Posted by: Another Concerned Resident | June 12, 2007 12:05 AM

I wonder if lead poisoning was a contributing factor to the aggressive behavior and poor socialization of any of the attackers.

Good thing we do everything we can to make sure disadvantaged little kids are no longer poisoned that way. Lead poisoning has been linked time and again to poor life outcomes - including a much stronger likelihood of committing crimes.

Read about the good Rabbi's work on the subject:

http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/962133830.html

www.leadsafe.org/content/kids_and_lead/index.cfm?pageId=31

www.nhregister.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=18247017&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=517515&rfi=8

I couldn't find any articles in the NHI covering this story...

Posted by: JMAC | June 12, 2007 12:07 AM

For some reason my last comment wasn't posted...

Earlier tonight around 10pm, I was in a car driving on Elm Street, down Norton Street and then onto Edgewood Avenue. And there wasn't a pair of Edgewood Park Defense Patrol members in sight.

If they can't brave the pouring rain in the name of neighborhood security, how can they continue to make such bold assertions about the "lack" of community policing?

Were they afraid that the rain would rust their registered guns?

To NFJANETTE - I was simply responding to a concern that ThreeFifths rasied and you cannot deny that racial tensions may arise from this. That is it possibility.

As far as hostility, what kind of action has the Edgewood Neighborhood Association taken to address this issue? Aside from attending the monthly meetings at the substation?

Also, I am a resident in this neighborhood. I don't feel as though the ENA represents me as their neighbor and also I don't feel that this area is unsafe for someone (youth included) to ride a bicycle. Why live in fear? Why intimidate with fear?

Posted by: Kurt | June 12, 2007 12:50 AM

As I was reading this article, it seemed to me that announcing yourself and the time you're going to patrol is a pretty ineffective way to deter crime. On the other hand, if you wanted a lot of publicity to let criminals know that there are a lot of people carrying concealed weapons in the neighborhood and that crime is risky there, it might be a good idea.

People who expect the police to protect them (or imagine that police have any legal obligation to protect them) from crime are living in a fantasy world. The police do their best, but they are rarely in the right place at the right time to stop a crime in progress. Even when they manage to catch criminals, they usually do so after the fact. You have to take responsibility for your own protection - if you don't, you have nobody to blame but yourself if you become a victim.

Posted by: Rizzo | June 12, 2007 1:23 AM

The attack against the Rabbi's son was despicable. What a lame statement for the Mayor's office to state they "regret" the attack. They should have condemned it as barbaric and vowed to urge a long prison sentence for the scum who did it. Unless of course, it was an illegal alien in which case Ortiz will give the perp a pass (in the interest of political correctness)and DeStefano will register him to vote. One or two shots by Greer's patrol at these street thugs should do the trick.

Posted by: The Raging Patriot | June 12, 2007 2:29 AM

These people are doing exactly what they're supposed to do; take responsibility upon themselves to protect themselves and their neighborhood.

Government police forces are incapable of protecting anyone. It's simply an impossibility.

The best thing this country could do to lower crime would be to create a culture of self protection.

Posted by: David Nigh | June 12, 2007 4:40 AM

A White Guy gets jumped by "Young Men," it's just a crime. A Rabbi is targeted, beaten in his home by "Young Men," it's just a crime. White Guys/Rabbis band together to protect themselves against "Young Men" and it's a "racist," it's "Racial Profiling."

We used to have a saying in my neighborhood: "Young Men, please."

Posted by: Taxed To Death | June 12, 2007 5:57 AM

"I'm ashamed of my government." Kica Matos, June 2007. "The government terrorized our citizens," John DeStefano, June 2007.

According to this article...both statements are true. Too bad they were talking about the federal government and not their own.

Posted by: Vasily [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 6:15 AM

At the Red Lake Minnesota school shooting, when someone with the intent to kill unarmed students made for his door, the unarmed guard phoned in the threat and, without the means to stop the killer, quickly retreated. ("Run away! Run away!")
An unarmed guard is also known as a 'soft target'. An unarmed civilian attacked in his own home is also a soft target. Unless, of course, racial profiling is involved. But then everyone knows it is safer to run into the basement rather than upstairs. Upstairs is an inappropriate recipe for disaster. Anyone who flees upstairs into their own home, well, they just shouldn't. It can be used against them. As a matter of fact, it would be better to stay in ones own front yard being beaten and robbed. Unless, of course, racial profiling is involved. Why should homeowners have any authority in their own neighborhoods? This escalation of the cycle of fear and violence will only make the criminals angry that people refuse to be driven from their own streets like cowards. Hopefully some ventilation will not be required, but if so, any calliber that begins with a 4 should work quite nicely. A FMJ-HP profile. Heh. Oh, P.S. "Thugs...run away, run away!

Posted by: DWPittelli | June 12, 2007 7:58 AM

Assuming they have, as they say, licenses to carry concealed, then the "patrols" amount to little more than taking a stroll legally armed, as some of them are no doubt doing already. The difference is that they are announcing their intent to do this, which should have far greater deterrent effect than just occasionally doing this, and that they are going out in groups of two, making taking them on and/or disarming them a truly daunting prospect for any street criminal. The only downside to paired patrollers is that the criminals may be able to assume that people walking alone are almost always going to be unarmed -- but they assume that now.

Posted by: Wildmonk | June 12, 2007 8:04 AM

The city is essentially saying that the residents have no choice but to play victim so that the city's "leadership" can feel good about itself. It would be far better if they would get out in front of this issue and offer to train these neighborhood watches so that they are effective while minimizing risk.

JMAC recycles the old canards: "cycle of violence" and "racial profiling". In other words, since some of the perps may be non-white, we're required by liberal guilt to submit to their violence.

Well, the "cycle of violence" argument is fashion, not sense. It simply has no grounding in the reality of situations like this and, indeed, could be made against *any* attempt - police included - to protect oneself.

Second, why does JMAC assume the perps to be of darker skin? What does that tell you when he jumps to that conclusion? What does it tell you when he jumps to that conclusion and then counsels submission in the face of the threat that Rabbi Greer and his people face?

Self-defense is the most fundamental of all human rights and lies at the root of the concept of citizenship. Unfortunately, all too many people are willing to be vassals instead of citizens.

Posted by: on whalley | June 12, 2007 8:09 AM

I'd like to see every neighborhood follow suit. The police are only a reactionary force designed to hold your hand after you've been mugged, raped or shot. They are useless and impotent.
The only person who has the power to stop an attack is the victim himself or a close bystander.
Every law abiding citizen of this country should be armed at all times. Especially in a corrupt and crime laden city such as New Haven.

Posted by: Willie Williams jr | June 12, 2007 8:28 AM

Before Black People Started Going Crazy Using Crack, We Had Nice Neighborhoods. Black People Should Be Doing The Same Thing In The Black Community. If They Own A $300,000.00 Home Thats Worth $100,000.00...They Love Their Wives and Children. Black People Won't Even Protect Their Own Churches Because They Have No Insurance...Just Like In New Orleans Herricane Katrina, No Home Owners Insurance, No Business Insurance, The Black Colleges and Universities No Insurance. If Your Neighborhood Is Bad or Getting Bad, Make It Safe. If Black People Live In Edgewood Area, I Don't Think The Jews Are Going To Bother Them. The Purpose of Neighbors Is To Have A Nice Neighborhood. Who In Their Right Mind Wants Vampires, Villians, Drug Dealers, Drug Addicts, Criminals and Gang Members Roaming Around?

Posted by: Jon Vercellone | June 12, 2007 8:51 AM

I love it. In this day, on these streets, an armed defense is the only defense. The City will not provide for its citizens, so in the great American tradition the people will provide for themselves. Well done, Rabbi Greer. God Bless America.

Posted by: Esteban | June 12, 2007 9:12 AM

Wow! Pistol packin' rabbis! Can we get them in my neighborhood? By the way, was Charles Bronson Jewish?

Posted by: JMAC | June 12, 2007 9:39 AM

Even if the Edgewood Neighborhood Association attempts to restore safety to the neighborhood by forming a armed citizens patrol, this is a reactionary measure, short term at best.

I would be interested in seeing the outcomes that are expected to result in this kind of patrol activity. What steps were taken before the formation of the Edgewood Park Defense Control unit? My apprehensiveness stems from concern about an entity attempting to enforce control with armed weapons - also the way in which the ENA has presented this to the public.

Even if the violence was to stop because of the EPDC unit, it would not be permanent. Long term goals need to initiated - which include all citizens in our neighborhood. Aren't there bigger picture, possibly systemic issues that should be identified? What is the cause of these robberies and assaults? How can this be prevented from happening? (without armed citizen patrols).

While in opposition to this kind of "resolution," I as a member of the neighborhood, still do not want violence to continue - no matter who the criminal or the victim might be.

Lastly, I am here to voice my opinion about current issues in New Haven. I am not here to make conclusions about other posters, but to respond to their ideas and opinions.

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 10:03 AM

Sorry .... but all I could think of when I saw this story was Gene Wilder and "the Frisco Kid".

With that out of my system.
I get it..for years I have been chasing people off my street because the police did not help. Most officers know I do it...they tell me not to but what choice have they left me???

They can not be everywhere and guess what, crime seems to be everywhere now a days.

What is the answer??? First thing I think is to make Yale police more accountable for the communities that the Yale staff and students live in. Those areas are hording the police. New Haven officers are not there to guard Yale staff and students they are there to stop the source of the crimes.

Ex. Muggings...most muggings are a result of drugs or poverty. If we focus on getting the drug dealing out of New Haven the muggings ect. will decrease. But if we take those resources and use them to guard people then the crime area flourish and the muggings will not stop.

PROACTIVE NOT REACTIVE!!!!

Focus the police in the bad parts of town and let the dealers know NEW HAVEN DOES NOT WANT IT ANYMORE GET THE H*LL OUT!!

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 10:11 AM

PS ... I do get what the rabbi's are doing...more power to you. But the armed with guns thing does make me a bit fearful

Please be careful.

You should of just did bike patrols with police radios.

Posted by: on whalley | June 12, 2007 10:22 AM

Hey, Cedarhill, Im with you on the getting rid of the drugs buisiness but for that to work you'd have to get the city to stop being so addict friendly. You have to stop tolerating the halfway houses, the uncountable rehab/sober living home, the free clinics on every block, the shelters, the lack of a panhandling ordinance, and all the other policies of this city that work to attract the addicts and the criminals and the vagrants from all over CT and NY. Even from further away. Some of these areas dont have a single CT liscense plate. Whats bringing them here? It certainly isnt jobs or the affordable cost of living.

You cant invite a bunch of trash over to your house and expect them not to behave like trash.
Families have been in this city before the bars went onto the windows which was consequently before all the bleeding heart vagrant friendly policies came to life.

The whole city needs an overhaul.

No more safe haven nonsense for criminals and addicts and no more bleeding heart insanity from its residents. I dont know anyone who's stopped a rape with a hug.

God bless these guys and I hope it catches on.

Posted by: JBZ | June 12, 2007 10:31 AM

JMAC: the patrols start Monday. That's why you didn't see them last night.

Posted by: Edward_H | June 12, 2007 10:32 AM

No one in New Haven can really expect the officers NHPD to agessively patrol the streets. Especially when you have a mayor who acccuses Federal agents who are properly executing the law as terrorists. Oraganized citizen patrols , armed or not, are a good idea. I am glad to see some people are fed up with the nonsense happening in our neighborhoods. From the

Mayor's Pres release:

In fact, the victim was in contact with an officer who was walking the neighborhood shortly before the incident and immediately thereafter.

The man was in contact with a police officer before AND after the incident yet he was still attacked and the most City hall can muster is some "regret" over the incident? This tax paying citizen was bruttally attacked by a gang of savages who pretty much invaded his home. Can anyone imagine the response had an illegal alien been treated by federal agents in such a manner? The mayor would go immediately gush forth histrionic speeches about federal terrorism, the New Haven Independent would give us a full biography on the illegal aliens involed, their children and possibly a full color map tracing their footsteps from their country of origin to New Haven and students at Yale would begin rending their own garments and engaging in self-flagellation on the New Haven Green. I wish the Rabbi Greer all the success in the world. If there were more patrols like this my wife and I might not have made the decision to make this our last year in New Haven.

Posted by: Cobra1 | June 12, 2007 10:51 AM

Time of patrol given reporters maybe a coy.
Remember all closed eyes aren't sleep and all goodbyes aren't gone.Criminal be Ware.

Posted by: charlie | June 12, 2007 10:53 AM

I agree, OnWhalley. Subsidized housing should be almost completely phased out of the city over the next few years, and the treatment centers should all be closed (except for New Haven's fair share of them, which is one or two, not 20). Suburban towns, where most of the City's homeless and addicts originally come from, need to play a role in social services, not just New Haven.

Posted by: Wjay | June 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Woa...
Sounds like a hugh vote of no confidence for the Mayor and Ortiz.
Let's hope it doesn't go to the Board of Aldermen for a vote.

Posted by: Sally Tamarkin | June 12, 2007 11:22 AM

This is one of the creepiest things I've ever heard.

I am very curious to hear what the plan is for outreach to all members of this diverse neighborhood, beyond the community of observant Jews, I mean.

With all the money they have for buying and rehabbing homes and planting trees, they couldn't fund some more productive programming for ALL residents? You know, programs that get to the heart of our city's drug/violence problems? Vigilante-ism is seriously the only solution they could think of? This simply ignites tempers and enhances the police state rather than making EVERYONE feel safer.

Posted by: robn | June 12, 2007 11:39 AM

Has Rabbi Greer and his followers tried a plain old block watch yet? (i mean the unarmed variety). Besides my personal concern about getting shot by a nervous young person with a weapon, I'm actually concerned for this Yeshiva. All of the positive building that the Rabbi has accomplished could go up in smoke some day when a nervous young person with a weapon accidentally kills another innocent person. Cops are trained to try and keep their cool and beleive it or not, are discouraged from firing their weapon unless absolutely neccesary. The rabbi's plan has got liability written all over it.

Posted by: LogicalSC | June 12, 2007 12:30 PM

The liberals controlling New Haven and commenting here never seem to learn.

The criminals are looking for easy marks. Gun-free zones and other silly notions simply free the lawbreakers to attack citizens with no worry of physical harm. Every city or location which has allowed or encouraged citizens to legally carry firearms has seen a reduction in attacks on residents. Even an ignorant criminal will think twice about attacking a citizen if there is the possibility that their own hide will suffer.

Liberals should worry more about the citizens of your communities than the criminals.

Posted by: pd woes | June 12, 2007 12:38 PM

Ortiz has spent too much time trying to control and inappropriately co-opt the community groups in his community policing program rather than work with them in good faith. I honestly think he struggles with the concept of these groups. he doesn't get it.

he and the mayor also ignore the top requests these groups bring to them over and over, such as the crisis, yes crisis, in the dispatch call center. Dispatch is a disgrace they just keep making excuses for and attack the messengers for.

Also, not everybody running departments at nhpd are the ones who most merit, are most competent in those positions. that's a major problem.

the second an orthodox patrolmen shoots an assailant in self-defense who happens to be african-american, total mahem is going to erupt in terms of racial accusations no matter how baseless the accusation or justified the shooting. Thats the fact. But the Greers know this I am sure and are willing to go forward. I think they are because they feel they have a right to a safe neighborhood in their lifetimes. And they are right. They do. We all do.

Frankly, New Haven has got to stop being a safe harbor for and stop throwing resources at multi-generational, recalcitrant, unreformable criminal families. Social programs yes, subsidies yes, 60 years of hosting families where every member are offenders and repeat offenders? Give me a break.

Tolerance of the state of affairs we are living in SHOULD be zero. It should be no surprise that someone is coming out and saying they won't tolerate it anymore. The police department doesn't have the sense that the situations in some neighborhoods here are emergencies. They are complacent with it and act as if we should be too. The mayor is no different. people in the community know that.

Why should our standards be so low?

The only thing I have seen the PD do in response to this entreaty from individual community members and any offer to help come up with new programs in the past is to gang up on and attack, hard, the person or people daring to suggest them, no matter how well intended and positive the contribution is, which is rediculous -- it makes decent people feel the PD is insisting on being part of the problem, like the PD itself is contributing to a lower quality of life here.

In a city that wants to be progressive and safe, policing has to be overhauled. We need dynamic, vibrant community policing (where participants don't feel beat up) as a rock bottom minimum. And we could do far better than that.

Posted by: pd woes | June 12, 2007 12:45 PM

On JMAC's comment. I don't agree with him, except that I do agree that the elmwood group is very one way street. they are too insular.

Posted by: alltheycan | June 12, 2007 12:50 PM

I am tired of people saying the PD is doing all they can.

they operate in total defense mode all the time, trying to shore up criticism. it ain't that creative, it ain't that proactive, it ain't that smart. That isn't doing all it can. it is political combat mode.

Come up with some amazing ideas for us PD, and get out of defend and cover mode.

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 2:00 PM

Ok... as I have now caught up on all the comments...I grew up on Wooster Street (many moons ago when it was a "family" area) I don't think I ever saw a cop on our street or in the area (except during events) people new that the community watched out for eachother. The men in the area came together and confronted the problems that may have started and nipped them in the bud.

Now a days very few parts of the city have that unity. I really feel it is a lack of community that contributes to this problem.
-How many people go to block watch or managment meetings???
-How many people call the police when they see something that does not directly effect them???
-How many people say I am to busy to get involved?? (guess what so are we, but we find the time).
-How many times do I here but your the block watch you were suppose to stop this?? What you live 3 streets over not one person on your street is at a block watch meeting till they have a commplaint!!

Untill people in this city relize it is every bodys job (Not just the cops) This is going to continue.

The rabbi's have the right idea but I think it is just a little to over the top. (but I bet they get the change they want!)

"on whalley " Yes you are right to a point. There comes a point when a city like ours has done its civic duty, but we can not save the world. The doors need to close at some point. The one problem with that is we have a hospital, 2 hospitals and that is what draws the problems in. Because once released they are not brought back to were they came from they are left on the streets of New Haven. That is why these place are set up because they are eighter on the street or they are in these places with the hope of moving on at some point and becomeing a part of the real world (which is not always the case).

Posted by: buzz | June 12, 2007 2:04 PM

"I believe that individuals who carry weapons with the intent of enforcing their view of appropriate behavior in the neighborhood is a recipe for disaster."

Appropriate behavior like not beating up your neighbors? Not robbing them? Yeah, I can see where trying to impose your values could be a problem.

"This move is absolutely ridiculous! Keep your guns off my block, Edgewood Avenue."
Yeah, instead send them to mine. I am unafraid of law abiding neighbors even when armed. Let the lawbreakers go the that other guys neighborhood.

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 2:15 PM

PS...note to the Chief and Joe and Johnny

Instead of doing these small community meetings that you have been doing which separate the city. Try doing a big group meeting.(even if it is once a year) of all managment teams and block watches, ect. It is summer the stage is set up. Have a city managment team so that different groups can share there ideas. Here what is working in other areas.

One city right!! Have a One city crime prevention meeting.

Posted by: schneur | June 12, 2007 5:08 PM

There are many aspects to this issue.
If the mayor desires an integrated city, he ahd better take crime committed by Black teens against anyone including Jews seriously. Otherwise he will be t with a city taht resembles a Black ghetto.

Since when is it a crime to defend oneself against criminals and thugs.

Posted by: Barry | June 12, 2007 5:37 PM

The issue is quite simple for those who are informed. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police CANNOT be held responsible for the protection of citizens within their jurisdiction, and that citizens have no right to expect such protection. That ruling clearly lays the onus of protection on communities and individuals. And yes, despite liberal wailing to the contrary, law-abiding citizens have both a legal right and moral obligation to protect themselves and others. As long as the citizen patrols obey the law, they have a right to operate. Bravo to Rabbi Greer for his steadfast refusal to adopt a victim mentality!

Posted by: nfjanette [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 7:30 PM

I am very curious to hear what the plan is for outreach to all members of this diverse neighborhood, beyond the community of observant Jews, I mean.

I spoke with someone from the group this afternoon and expressed exactly those concerns. My understanding is that there will be an active effort to involve everyone in the neighborhood in the block watch patrol. Since everyone, without regard to race/color/creed has been a victim, I hope that everyone will join the effort in one form or another.

Posted by: JMAC | June 12, 2007 7:42 PM

Shouldn't this effort of inclusion have taken place way BEFORE the Edgewood Neighborhood Association decided to call the press and mobilize an armed patrol?

Did ENA fear that members of the neighborhood would favor in opposition to their actions?

On another note, while I recognize that there is crime and violence in New Haven neighborhoods, I refuse consider myself a victim.

Posted by: robn | June 12, 2007 8:10 PM

NHPD needs reform and our citizens do have to be more involved, but we shouldn't cave in to stances that may lead to more violence. There are two inherant problems with independent armed militas patrolling our city.

1) Lack of proper law enforcement training leading to possible abuse (shallow knowledge of the law; improper disposition towards civilians; inprudent use of firearms.)

2) Lack of accountability (if you feel kind of bad about controversial police shootings or any other recent actions, think about how opaque an independent militia could be if they cross the line.)

Posted by: JBZ | June 12, 2007 9:48 PM

Dear Sally Tamarkin: How's this for creepy? Say you're at home alone with your two young kids one day and you look out the window from the second story and you see a man in your (fenced & gated) yard standing partially behind a tree staring at your house. THAT was creepy.

I also find it creepy that many of the houses on my (very nice) street have been broken into over the years and most people take it in stride that they'll be burglarized every now & then. I guess I'm not so serene about that.

Armed men riding around on bikes? That's not creepy. That's quintessential New Haven. You just didn't know what percentage of men are already armed. At least the Edgewood gang are doing it legally. And how civilized of them to hold a press conference. Most gang members just flash their piece when necessary and leave it at that.

Lord, I've got to get out of NH before every liberal ideal I have is shredded to hell. This place really strips away the illusions.

Posted by: Blackdog [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 12, 2007 9:49 PM

The Supreme Court has never said that people can't hold the police responsible for protecting their safety.

It has, however, condemned vigilantism again and again--a democratically-elected government provides (real!) rule of law **SPECIFICALLY TO REPLACE VIGILANTISM**.

The Supreme Court has only said that citizens can't SUE police officers individually. They can certainly do all sorts of OTHER things to hold the govt. accountable. The Court usually talks about things like "voting" and "running for office," but below I've collected some more concrete suggestions that don't involve turning the clock back to a pre-civilization version of "justice." If the Greers are serious about protecting their neighbors--and not looking for an excuse to mete our their own version of bloody justice--let's see them get behind more constructive measures.

Start a Block Watch:
http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CrimePreventionSafety.asp#BlockWatch

Get in touch with the neighborhood officer, or call for a replacement:
http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CommunityPolicing.asp#Q10
"The single individual with the most influence is the neighborhood officer. He or she - not the Chief of Police - exemplifies the community policing philosophy and can make it succeed. The community officer is responsible for intercepting problems before they inundate Central Communications Service with calls for service..."

Implement some "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design":
http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CrimePreventionSafety.asp#Design
For example, "Encourage neighborhood outdoor activities. Maintain a strong presence on the street. Events like block parties, clean-ups, festivals, and tag sales keep neighbors out on the street and criminals away."
Detailed instructions on planning block parties: http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CrimePreventionSafety.asp#Events

More examples of many things you can do (or help your neighbors do) to make your own property and residence part of crime prevention: http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CrimePreventionSafety.asp#Design

Other misc. suggestions: http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Police/CrimePreventionSafety.asp#Prevent

Posted by: jms | June 12, 2007 10:37 PM

Sidebar:

I don't understand the point of making a public announcement about these armed patrols. Any citizen can take gun safety/training courses and apply for a concealed carry permit and arm themselves for their own protection if they feel it it necessary. Leaving any opinion as to whether this is a good idea or not off the table for the purposes of this point... this announcement will serve no purpose other then to paint targets in the backs of these patrol members. Why advertise? I just don't get it unless there is some kind of greater political agenda or message attached... say it ain't so.

I grew up here and have seen the "cycle of violence" rise and fall many times over the years. I have no real suggestions other then what I always fall back on which is staying alert at all times and being aware of my surroundings. My gut reaction to this announcement of citizen patrols is that it is only a matter of time before we read the next story which is that some bystander or kid gets shot through his bedroom window or riding in the backseat of a passing car as a gunfight between a mugger and a patrol member gets out of control. Do we really think that any kind of private lessons at a gun range can replace serious police training and magically make these clowns ready to face an armed conflict on the street? Do we trust them to keep cool heads? Do we really?

More guns on the street.

1+1=2

JMS

Posted by: bugupit | June 13, 2007 7:25 AM

Well, this issue is attracting more than a few comments! "Approaching vigilantiism"? No, this crosses the line. I await Mayor DeStefano's stronger statement and public instructions to the NHPD or other law enforcement on how to corral this dangerous and I hope Illegal situation. Really, this patrol is a pretty stupid idea that makes New Haven less livable. What's next, a concrete fence? If when I drive through I see these guys, I promise to roll down my window and give them a loud and vulger earful! A small group of cyclists on patrol, ONE of whom is armed with a gun. My fear is it gives societies stamp of legitimism to riding and packing, leading to even more Knuckleheads, all over the City, with guns falling out of their floppy shorts as they ride. Greer's disciples want to point guns at bad guys? He should bring them to the NHPD recruiting office.

Posted by: Frank Iezzi | June 13, 2007 7:50 AM

Rabbi Greer for Mayor!!!!

Posted by: runmnt | June 13, 2007 8:02 AM

this is sick and sad. many of the comments on here are basically mean and evil spirited. most of the comments are directed at the black community. Not asians, hispanics, or caucasians (by the way they do commit crimes too, they are drug addicts too) what i get from this discussion so far.. is that the police have either failed us or could do better, black people need to stay in their place.. rob their own people... and that racial profiling is o-k as long as the person is guilty.
would this program be approved in any other neighborhood? with any other skin color?
it sounds like anger.. it sounds like someone is tired of trying to reach to a community that they can't reach.
I think the problem is societal. we really just don't talk to each other like we used to. greeting each other in the store, on the sidewalk .. just being courteous.. we are either to afraid of one another. or just not willing to understand or get to know one another and branch out.
the Bible, (the same bible based on the jewish religion) teaches to love on another. you'd be suprised how far a smile, hand shake, or hug can go. bullets, guns, drugs they all break us apart. love can put it back together.. show someone you care about their situation.
help fix the underlying problems. you'll see a change.
taking up arms leads to bigger problems.. ask malcom x, the black panthers, the guardian angels.
where are the peaceful alternatives? (m.l.k., jr.)..
i know there's something i left out..something i missed.. and something you don't agree with.. but that's ok with me. just as long as you've heard part of the point.

Posted by: Sally Tamarkin | June 13, 2007 8:44 AM

JBZ: Um. It's creepy because these aren't just "men riding around on bikes." They are men riding around on bikes with concealed weapons, no training that we are aware of (conflict resolution, safe gun use, etc), and an axe to grind. How can this not scare you?

Sorry you had a prowler on your property. Perhaps you should move to a gated community?

Posted by: JSJ [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 13, 2007 11:19 AM

Re: RUNMNT's & BUGUPIT's comments-

There seem to be several recurring misconceptions. The racist overtone is the one which concerns me the most. Do not paint this as a racial issue. It is not.

Our entire community, regardless of race, religion, whatever- is being victimized by a small yet strong and resliliant bunch of people (it's not even clear whether the perpetrators are from this neighborhood, btw).

Edgewood is a beautiful place. Many families have been here for generations and have seen crime rise and fall over the years. It has been rising lately and the criminals have become increasingly violent and the attacks are more random. If we do nothing, crime will continue to increase. If we do something, it may decrease- or it may not, who knows? But this announcement is a wake-up call: we will no longer remain silent in the face of this epidemic. It's a fact: this neighborhood is going to sink or swim based on the actions- or lack thereof- of its residents in the next few years.

This problem is not societal. Many Edgewood residents greet each other and speak on the streets; we genuinely care about one another. No matter what our heritage may be, we lament the same issues. For better or for worse, crime unites us all.

If you'd like to call the Greer's group "vigilantes", good for you. You have that right. If you are a resident, are you willing to put up a counter-proposal? Would you volunteer to walk as part of an un-armed block watch? If you want a livable city, you've got to be willing to put up, not just "promise to roll down my window and give them a loud and vulger earful!"

You might also want to keep in mind the fact that it was mostly by virtue of the work of Greer's group 20+ years ago that this part of the city is currently as livable as it is. Agree or disagree on the current methods, but please be sure to give credit where credit is due.

Posted by: Terminus | June 13, 2007 12:23 PM

This is the price of diversity that liberals and other socialists have been pushing down our throats. Diversity is great, eh? .. except when it comes to your doorstep and you see the reality of the price of that diversity. Most of the people trying to push diversity down America's throat want that diversity to be kept at a distance. Now you see what happens. I applaud anyone's efforts in making their neighborhoods safe.


Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 13, 2007 12:43 PM

JSJ

I get tierd of people trying to turn everything into a racial thing. I am board with it. When you cry out it is a racial thing all the time people stop listening. It is a crime thing. It is a crime issue. All are effected.

The Gardian Angels are coming today that should be interesting.

I really hope this inspires other communitys in the city. Not just the core people but communitys as a whole.

I will tell you one thing. This whole thing at the least....Got that community the city paying attention to them. They probably have half the police force working that area now.

How luck the rest of us are now...NOT.

I will tell you one thing at least you are pulling together instead of standing and saying poor us, you did what communitys are suppose to do!!

Posted by: Jerome T. Watts | June 13, 2007 1:27 PM

I don't think that these ultra far right "citizens" should be allowed to patrol the streets. New Haven has a sizable African American population. Jews should not be in a position to question the movement of our people throughout any and all neighborhoods of New Haven. An intimidating presence by extremist Jews could fracture the fragile race relations in New Haven and bring about additional friction. Let the police do their job, and confiscate the guns from these nuts.

Posted by: on whalley | June 13, 2007 1:53 PM

I noticed a common theme between posts here, elsewhere and television news interviews over the last two days. You're all afraid of guns. I dont know why or how but so many of you are terrified of them. So many have said things like 'I like the idea of patrolling but them being armed scares me' and 'more guns will just make more problems.'

Is this a city thing or a CT thing or just a brainwashed ignorant thing? I dont get it.

Visit the wordl outside of the TV and your local bubble and see that every home in areas has gun(s) every person in some towns shoots either for sport or as a matter of course to protect from one thing or another. It wasnt that long ago that every school public and private had rifle teams. If more guns=more problems then why werent the kids on rifle teams often with guns in their lockers shooting up their schools?

Take a wild guess as to how many people around you on any given day are armed either legally or illegaly. If youre in a room with me consider yourself close to at least on leaglly armed person. So why havent I gone crazy and shot up the place?

I really dont understand where these paranoid and fantastic delusions of what a gun is came from but it has to stop. Its so beyond an irrational fear Id classify it as a phobia.

Visit the range once in a while. Get your permits. See the world you fear so much and learn from it. Please.

Posted by: Tammuz29 [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 13, 2007 1:58 PM

Kudos to Rabbi Greer.

The police cannot be there to prevent or protect. They can only be there to investigate after the muggers and robbers do their thing. This is the norm, and no candid law enforcement officer will tell you anything different.

So observe the mitzvah of defending oneself by first, learning all you can about the laws of armed self defense; second, getting really good training; and third, getting a good lawyer (before you need one). Your ability to defend yourself in court and with the police AFTER you defend yourself on the street and in your home is just as important.

Kol tuv.

Posted by: Ned | June 13, 2007 3:29 PM

The block watch suggestion is totally overrated, some neighborhoods, like mine, have a higher percentage of short term renters, mainly Yale grad students (who are even more insular than an orthodox religious community) than owners and long term residents. Most people work during the day, so the neighborhood is vulnerable 9-5 anyway. In addition, a call to the police doesn't necessarily translate into action. And what if I get one of the "christian" cops, who might decide that Jesus doesn't like me, or "god hates fags" a sentiment probably shared by the Lubavitchers (the start of right wing death squads)? I don't think armed patrols are necessarily wise, other than as a PR stunt, but I don't object to citizens exercising their right to obtain a concealed weapons permit; I encourage it. It appears that the police, despite the rhetoric, basically exist to protect the government from the citizens, why do you think they're always out in full force at political protests? Cointelpro? Ken Krayeske vs. Jodi Rell? - that's the way it works in the rest of the world and the U.S. is no exception. "Crime" appears to be secondary. Really, I'm not a conservative, but some liberals seems to be living in complete denial of reality: if only "we" build another community center, candy and ice cream for breakfast everyday... Some people are just born "bad" and prey on the goodwill of their neighbors: it's in their genes, not their environment, so in a sense they're not even responsible for their own actions... Liberal politicians can preach the virtues of civic duty, and gun control because they're protected by armed guards and they can brainwash their followers into killing other people, otherwise known as war... Incarcerate violent offenders until they're infirm, stop arresting people for getting high, and stop dumping excons, with no social skills back into communities without any kind of support.

Posted by: charlie | June 13, 2007 5:18 PM

Agreed - violent criminals, including muggers above the age of 12, are animals who should be locked up until they are 65.

Posted by: elmcityguy | June 13, 2007 5:32 PM

The biggest worry I have about this is what happens when one of the armed patrols shot an innocent person? Can we start to expect gunfights on our walks in that neighborhood through the summer?

Overall, I think a community policing itself can lead to good things, but only if they are not looking to be heroes, and make people feel welcome, not by looking for trouble. Only time will tell which one this will be.

Posted by: nfjanette [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 13, 2007 9:37 PM

Jerome T. Watts wrote:

I don't think that these ultra far right "citizens" should be allowed to patrol the streets. New Haven has a sizable African American population. Jews should not be in a position to question the movement of our people throughout any and all neighborhoods of New Haven. An intimidating presence by extremist Jews could fracture the fragile race relations in New Haven and bring about additional friction. Let the police do their job, and confiscate the guns from these nuts.

Mr. Watts, where do you get your paranoid ideas from? The block watch is composed of more than just Jews from the Greer's community - our community has a diverse racial/ethnic/religious character - and there is no intention whatsoever to "question the movement" of anyone in the neighborhood. The idea is to be actively patrol and visible as eyes and ears than will report criminal activity to the police. Some of the citizens patrolling are already licensed to carry firearms and will continue to do so as legally permitted. Name a single licensed owner of a firearm that has committed a crime with a weapon in New Haven, if you can - but I don't believe you will find any. The people with guns that are a problem are other group entirely.

Posted by: jms | June 13, 2007 10:49 PM

What a mess. This comment is not intended in any way to devalue any of the comments on this website. People feel passionately about this issue because it branches out into all kinds of other related topics. I hope that in all of this debate (here and at BOA meetings... city staff meetings... NHPD meetings) the core problems are not overlooked.

1. Street violence is a problem again in New Haven.
2. Street violence is totally unacceptable in a civilized society.
3. Street violence needs to be addressed.

I have a $.02 theory that the caused and solutions to most social problems are economic. Hear me out. The very phrase "socio-economic" is more of an actual explanation then a word to me. The phrase only exists because it makes sense all by itself. Like "military industrial complex" it did not exist in our vocabulary until that which it denotes became a reality. This is just a theory.

But if you for a moment agree with this theory then now apply it to the recent actions of the current administration of this city. This may sound like it's going off on a tangent but I swear it comes back to roost.

1. Cuts in federal funding took money for winter heating bills (oil) away from folks who needed assistance. The City found oil from Hugo Chavez... much to the dismay of the federal adminsitration. The City worked around the failings of the federal system.

2. The federal govenrment's total underfunding, confusion and lack of direction and effective enforcement on immigration policy leaves cities like New Haven with many "illegal" residents. These residents are no less in need of city services and so the City comes up with this idea of ID cards in order to try and make some sense of things... keep tabs on folks... even for their own protection... if you believe the motivation cited by the City. Again the city worked around the federal system.

3. (And I believe this to be true) After 1.5 deplorable terms of George W. and continued cuts in all areas of social services... a middle class economic slump... a money sucking "war" effort... job growth slump... etc... we find ourselves in the middle of another hot violent summer. Who is left with the fallout from all these cumulative factors? It falls again on the City.

What will the City do this time? Call in the National Guard? Ask the fed's to declare a state of emergency to free up funding to swear in 100 more cops? Send kids to school year round? I have no idea. I'm just fishing.

My point is that we can all sit here and argue about what is a band-aid attempt to combat street violence with these armed patrols. But it seems to me like a petty and limiting arguement. The roots of these problems are far broader and I really have no confidence that small targeted "fix it" solutions will have any kind of lasting effect.

I think it's time to take these problems and start looking upstream for answers. Way upstream. I hear lots of people talking about the roots within the city's borders. My contention is that this problem is a bi-product of a much larger set of problems... most of which can be defined with the distribution of dollar signs in this country.

I'm sure none of this sound even remotely helpful in the context of this local debate. But I felt like saying it anyway.

JMS

Posted by: outcast | June 13, 2007 10:58 PM

What if all people decide to do what Rabbi Greer famaily have done on this pass week, bare arms. This city would be in some big trouble.

This city is already in big trouble with the crime, but we don't have to make it worse. Yes, we must change the way on how our city government is not controling all of this crime. The way to change it is to make a change in our legislation by not voting the people back into office.

We don't need to carry guns on us to empower us, we already have the power so lets use it by not putting all of these people back into office.

Everyone must be held accountable, PARENTS, MAYOR,ALDERPEOPLE, CHURCHES AND POLICE.

We need to stop pointing the finger at black people and look at all people.

This city don't need vigilantes nor orginized crime groups because this only makes more people get hurt.

To the Greer family, allow the police to do their job and pray that God contiune to cover your family and this city with his blood, not by the blood that these young peoples hands have done already.

We don't need another Black Panthers movement in this city because then we will need to call in the arm force.

Remember, Vote these people out of office that's not doing their job.

Posted by: westvillecharlie | June 14, 2007 1:17 AM

just how dangerous and messed up does your neighborhood have to be when you have to arm yourself to protect yourself and family in an american city in this day and age? pretty bad, bad enough to do someting you thought you were never capable of. that is where my neighbors to the south (24th ward, i'm 25th) are today.
they are withing their constituional rights, they've made spiritual inquiries, they've been attacked on thier own porches. their minds are clear and their intentions is seen as a border area for me and a lot of families. border meaning there is drug and vice activity within it's borders, but still areas free of open street crime. the houses are old and beautiful, it's next to our "central park", and a long history of families growing up there.
curtis sliwa, like al sharpton, idon't care for because he appears to be out only for his own self, and tends to stir up more trouble than he cures. he's a tool, and should stay in new york until he buys a house in the elm city. but these men who've chosen to take up the cause of keeping the peace by arming themselves have my support. such would be the case if concerned homeowners with families of the 23rd, 3rd or any ward had made the same decision. the n.h.p.d. isn't going to save us.

Posted by: Ben | June 14, 2007 7:00 AM

Community policing? Why not try it again? Please remind me, what is the Yale endowment? While we are at it.....work (jobs...for people that didn't learn much in school) and good schools might help.
I'm thinking broadcasting the lethal force invites
....attempted gun theft? ....community patrol...does it work...anyone do a study? Knowing your neighbors and talking on the street in a social fashion will reduce attacks....threating ...I find it a turn-off.
You got me ..I won't go for a walk in your area.

Posted by: Edward_H | June 14, 2007 12:46 PM

JEROME T. WATTS

I don't think that these ultra far right "citizens" should be allowed to patrol the streets

How did you come to this conclusion about the members of this patrol? This very article describes Rabbi Greer as "A longtime ally of Mayor John DeStefano" probably the biggest liberal in the state yet you paint him and EVERY person who chooses to join this patrol as ultra far right? I wish I could say I am suprised that the first people to complain about profiling are the first ones to engage in profiling.


Jews should not be in a position to question the movement of our people throughout any and all neighborhoods of New Haven.

I guess your clairvoyance has also granted you information about the patrol that was not stated in the above article? I don't see one word about them planning to "questions the movement" of anyone.

Unlike many of the posters in this forum I actually live in this area and I am personally sick to death of the savages coming to my neighborhood terroring the hard working men and women of my area. Since moving to New haven from the Bronx I have had my car broken into twice, an attempt to steal my car once, a bullet through my wall by a gang member firing shots in the street for no reason and I have personally intervened when some chumps were attempting to steal the bicycle of a teen who lives on my block. After all my years in various parts of New York City I never had an alarm system or bothered to get a gun permit until I moved to New Haven. If my work scheduled allowed I would offer my help to this patrol. Good luck!

Posted by: cedarhillresident [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 14, 2007 4:40 PM

Outcast one comment you made is very true
We don't need to carry guns on us to empower us, we already have the power so lets use it by not putting all of these people back into office. Everyone must be held accountable, PARENTS, MAYOR, ALDERPEOPLE, CHURCHES AND POLICE.

Posted by: point | June 14, 2007 9:22 PM

JMS - I hear you, but I have to tell you. We have an image of a struggling parent trying to keep her kids out of trouble.

some parents are like that.

but this is a stereotype.

Listen closely, really closely. a lot of these kids shooting up the city and dealing drugs, and the cops will tell you i am right, have parents who did the same thing. and alot of those parents have parents that did the same thing. And those parents, and parents of parents were the recipients of every possible social program and initiative a liberal city like new haven could muster. That's why they stayed here. Each generation dropped out of high school, even though their parents were paying as little as $60 rent a month for multi-bedroom apartments due to subsidies

Unless you handcuff a 24-hour social worker to these parents to keep them and their kids from commiting crimes, using poor judgment, cheating their neighbors, hitting people - yes the parents as well as the kids -- creating problems around themselves, they are not going to change, period. New Haven has been throwing programs at them and shoulders to cry on for decades.

I say, if you are going to go upstream for solutions for goodness sake, don't expend those social program resources on these families, which is only supporting their desire to continue to wreck havoc on their neighbors. 60 years of second chances on one family is too much - they are on the make. It is amazing how much crime by others is linked to them or is committed by them, it is exponential Remember the car that crashed into Rabbi Greer's house? Remember it started as a dispute after a local girl told one of the boys the others threatened to "smack" them? Ever wonder who she was? I have some clues. So in addition to actual crimes, there are crimes that domino from irresponsible criminally leaning acts like that, all by the same people. Give these families a bus ticket, so that the struggling parent trying to keep her kid from falling in with the wrong influences (maybe 1 out of 10 of the parents of the most problem kids in the city) doesn't have to worry so much between her three jobs. Spend the resources on her.

Posted by: RealityRon | June 14, 2007 10:20 PM

I have some advice for the street patrol. Fellas, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. If you ride around on your 10 speed looking for crime, you may just find it. Once you do, you may end up wishing you had stayed home. Let the police do their job. If you don't like "city life" the I would suggest you move out of the city. Edgewood isn't the West Bank. Let's not act like it is....

Posted by: Willie Williams jr | June 15, 2007 8:08 AM

The Park Attracts People From All Over.Park Security Should Be Doubled During The Summer Months.

Posted by: Brian H | June 20, 2007 12:09 PM

The perps will be unsure who is and isn't a member of the patrol. That will give them second, third and fourth thoughts -- if they are capable of any at all. It's the bully syndrome; it continues until someone fights back, then it collapses in confusion.

Community policing has succeeded wherever it's been tried. That must be why it was discontinued.

Sorry, Comments are closed for this entry

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