Brooklyn Paper Defends Shomrim in Op-Ed


boro-park-brooklyn-shomrimBy Ed Powell, The Brooklyn Paper

Recent attacks against the Shomrim could not be more inaccurate and further from the reality of the important role a neighborhood watch group like the Shomrim plays for city residents.In Flatbush, for example, Shomrim has many dedicated volunteers who serve our neighborhood seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In an average year, the volunteer members respond to thousands of calls. The volunteers have no badge, no gun, no bulletproof vest, no privileges or special treatment.
Neighborhood watch groups like the Shomrim do get small allocations from elected officials to cover operational costs. In addition, a few years ago, Flatbush Shomrim was entrusted, via a one-time capital grant, with a mobile command center that serves, among many other things, as a valuable tool to help locate missing persons, from Alzheimer’s patients to lost children. On an ongoing basis, Flatbush Shomrim helps locate children from all communities including Turkish-Muslims, Russian orthodox, Latin-Americans, African Americans, etc. Among the many cases they respond to, they assisted in the search of a missing 8-year-old Jewish child, which ended in unspeakable tragedy.

The Shomrim organization is neither a replacement for the outstanding work of the NYPD nor were they designed to be. But like any good neighborhood watch, they do serve as the NYPD’s eyes and ears and bring them valuable information that may lead to arrests, if warranted. They are also among the first to respond to police requests for additional manpower. These valuable services, combined with many other community benefits to both our young and elderly residents, have been commended by many organizations, agencies and elected officials as a major contribution to the betterment of communities, which, if at all quantifiable, far exceeds the organization’s annual budget.

Finally, the Flatbush Shomrim’s operating procedures and protocols require an immediate call to 911 in all cases of missing persons. Above all, the group has an unequivocal and publicly stated zero-tolerance policy for pedophiles and abusers. Again, all alerts and cases are immediately referred to the NYPD.

The Shomrim are proud to serve all communities and assist in making the city a better and safer place for all their neighbors. The abundance of calls, testimonials, accomplishments and track record with the NYPD and other agencies, over the years, speak for themselves.

Ed Powell is president of UMMA GROUP INC and the 70th Precinct Community Council.

{The Brooklyn Paper/ Newscenter}


  1. Shomrim is a great organization. A family member of mine was the victim of a crime, a grand larceny, and 911 was called. It took a long time till they responded. Shomrim was also called – they responded immediately and it was they who called 911 too. When the police arrived, much later with loads of apologies, considering the nature of the crime protocol dictates that for grand larceny versus petty larceny and because it was perpetrated unto an individual versus a property that they were to respond at once, AND T+HEY DIDN’T. But when they did they worked very well with Shomrim. In fact, after the initial report and interview with detectives, a meeting at the precinct was set up where the victim met personally with detectives and the precinct captain at a subsequent meeting, it was the officers who called Shomrim to ask some pertinent info AND THEY HAD THEIR NUMBERS IN THEIR CONTACT LIST ON THEIR CELL PHONES!
    The police knows how much it is the Shomrim who help to keep crime in our neighborhoods to a minimum and the police know how dedicated the Shomrim – UNPAID – are. The police appreciate their help and so do we! Let’s all tip our hats to them!

    p.s. Are they ‘shvitzers’ and attention seekers/ Perhaps! But who cares! They “HELP” us!!! Do they sometimes take matters that need professionals into their own hands/ Sure they do! But doesn’t every case of apples have a few bad ones! ! They do a great job! Not in the Anti-Jewish Week’s neighborhoods, but in ours! Hooray for them!