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Coming home late? Take your hike with a guy on a bike.
Brooklyn Bike Patrol, an all-volunteer organization that rides around the borough to accompany women home after dark, has been busy this week as women in Williamsburg and Bushwick seek extra protection following reports of a scary attacks across North Brooklyn.
“If everyone took our lead and helped one person get home, imagine how many people we could help,” said Brooklyn Bike Patrol president Jay Ruiz. “Imagine how many attacks wouldn’t happen.”
Neighbors are on edge after reports of terrifying encounters around the Morgan Avenue L train station circulated around the web, a recent attack against a woman on Cooper Street, and a rape on Kent Avenue in which a suspect allegedly trailed the victim home.
Women can call the Brooklyn Bike Patrol and request an escort outside more than 55 subway stations across the borough. Once the group receives a call, it dispatches a cyclist to the stop who will dismount his bike and walk the woman home.
The group urges straphangers to phone 45 minutes before they need a companion.
Ruiz said he was moved to start the service after he saw a disturbing video of a woman being attacked on the internet.
“She was screaming at the top of her lungs and no one came to her aide,” said Ruiz, who launched the group last year during much-publicized gropings in South Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington, when he posted himself by subway stations in the Slope and passed out fliers advertising his services to women coming off the trains. “I told my wife that if women had a chaperone, so many crimes would be prevented.”
Chloe Bearce called the Brooklyn Bike Patrol twice this week and was happy to see volunteers on two-wheelers waiting when she arrived at the Morgan Avenue L stop.
“I’m small and I can’t get attacked right now and these guys make me feel really safe,” said Bearce. “It’s really important to feel safe where you live.”
Ruiz manages five volunteers and runs a background check on anyone who wants to take part. He insists that all volunteers have a clean criminal record.
“I got nothing but heroes,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone working with me are gentlemen when walking women home.”
Ruiz said he is hoping to raise money to get his volunteers helmet cams so that they can keep a record of their surroundings.
Brooklyn Bike Patrol isn’t the only group aiming to keep people safe in the borough.
Williamsburg resident Nyssa Tang, who was beaten up and robbed by a gang of teenager last winter, is working on starting a neighborhood watch or alert system.
“I talked to other people in my neighborhood about the attacks and no one had heard of them,” she said. “We at least need to know what’s going on.”
Call the Brooklyn Bike Patrol at (718) 744–7592.Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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