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Crown Heights, NY - NY Post Profiles Shmira

Published on: June 1, 2008 01:12 PM
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Crown Heights, NY - Lieb Skoblo’s silver Honda Pilot motors through dusk in Crown Heights.

A black man stands idly on the street, peering apprehensively at the car, which is emblazoned with law enforcement-type decals and a bank of amber lights on top. Not far away, a black woman sits in her Jeep Grand Cherokee. She looks at the vehicle and scowls.

Skoblo eyes them both. That’s his job as a driver for Shmira, a private - and extremely controversial - Orthodox Jewish security force that patrols the racially divided neighborhood to protect Jews from what they believe is an entire race of people out to get them.

The controversial group of more than 100 usually puts two-man teams of volunteers in four to six cars nightly, many in blue and white vehicles that resemble NYPD cars.

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The group has a dispatcher - like the Police Department - and all members carry a radio.

“The reality is that crime in Crown Heights is committed by blacks on Jews,” said Yossi Stern, 38, the director of the vigilante group, on a ride-along with the group last week.

“I can show you close to 40 beatings in Crown Heights over the past two years where young Jewish men were beaten and ended up in the hospital. It was not the other way around.”

Stern’s incendiary comments show the deep-rooted animosity that lingers in the Brooklyn powder keg at a time when his patrol finds its tactics under fire from not only black residents, but also city law enforcement.

Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes compared the group - which carries no weapons, only radios - to the ruthless Bloods and Crips gangs, after one of Shmira’s members allegedly attacked a young black man, the son of a police sergeant, with a stick this spring.

A police official, who did not want to give his name, called Shmira “very secretive” and “not always cooperative” with cops. “We have to deal with them because they have a lot of support from the community,” the official said.

Hynes’ comparison, in particular, angered Stern.

“The DA made a very poor insinuation, a very grave mistake, by insinuating that Shmira and the Crips are alike,” he said.

“Everyone knows we’re not. If you’re going to say that we do vigilante activities, show me where. I have a wife and kids to protect. I’m not interested in getting myself in trouble for no reason. We’re here to provide safety and security to the community, and we do that.”

The DA later tempered his sharp comments.

“It was not my intention to suggest that the Shmira were capable of the violence which is the signature of street thugs like the Bloods and the Crips,” Hynes said. “What I meant to say was when there is an organized group, like Shmira, which may have been part of this unprovoked assault, that I intend to do everything possible to find out where the truth lies.”

In what some saw as retaliation for the beating, a month later two black teens allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old Orthodox boy. The tensions echo the anger that inflamed the tree-lined community during the infamous 1991 race riots.

In a show of quiet force, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly visited the area last month and beefed up police patrols. But, a yeshiva student still griped, “I don’t think [the police] give us enough protection.

“They’re just here to make a good show. Shmira is doing as much as they can to make up for that,” said the young Orthodox resident.

For Tayshawn Howard, a 39-year-old black construction worker in the neighborhood, Shmira’s tactics are simple racial profiling.

“Hell yeah, they’re racist, and they make it bad for all the other Jewish people in the neighborhood,” Howard said.

He and several other black residents blamed the police for even allowing the group’s patrols.

“They’d never let us have our own police cars and go on patrols,” Howard said.

David Bushelle, 45, also black, agreed.

“We have the transit police, the regular police, and we just call these guys the Jewish police,” he said. “But we don’t know exactly where their authority lies. I blame the police. The police need to tell the community exactly what the Jewish police are. The lack of that info creates contempt.”

Not everyone in the black community is offended by Shmira’s patrols.

Stern, the group’s director, has an unlikely defender in black activist Geoffrey Davis, the brother of slain City Councilman James Davis.

“There are tons of incidents, and there is tension, make no mistake about it,” Davis said.

But it “is misplaced anger. If you feel that the police are not servicing you, and I feel that the police are not protecting me and no one is listening to us, that misplaced anger can lead to riots.

“I like the security patrols. I feel safer.”

Asked if Shmira is guilty of racial profiling, Davis responded, “I don’t think so. They’re protecting the neighborhood - if there are some kids who look like they’re not supposed to be in the neighborhood or they’re going to rob a car or something.”

Davis paused. He then shrugged and said, “Tough love.”

Shmira driver Skoblo, who runs a plumbing-supply business by day, said his group is prepared for any emergency.

“Every acting member has a radio on them. If someone is needed, they’re there,” he told The Post while tooling around in his decked-out Honda.

“Let’s say the s- - - hits the fan. We have two or three guys designated to make the calls in a major emergency. Within 15 minutes, hundreds of people will be there. Within an hour, several hundred more.

“We do have contingency plans for a riot,” too, he said.

Shmira - which in Hebrew means “to protect” - was founded in 1968 and does not discriminate when it comes to helping victims of crime, its backers said.

“The people of the neighborhood were let down once by the police. We’re not going to let that happen again,” Skoblo said.


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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 01, 2008 at 01:22 PM Yid Says:

"“Let’s say the s- - - hits the fan."

This is how a chossid speaks? And to a goyishe publication?

2

 Jun 01, 2008 at 01:28 PM Anonymous Says:

I remember when my dear brother stopped a rape in Crown Heights. It was a black man raping a Spanish girl. She was very grateful.
The only reason some cops dislike Shmira is because they don't rat on their fellow Yidden.
As for the Post and all other media, DON'T BOTHER.
They're just out to put all Yidden in a bad light.
Not because they dislike. Just because it sells more papers.

3

 Jun 01, 2008 at 01:29 PM joe Says:

nice to one decent artcle about the ch situation

4

 Jun 01, 2008 at 02:53 PM Anonymous Says:

I think Shmira is providing an invaluable service. If I lived in that community I would donate regularly to them and support them in any way I could afford. I lived in East Oakland, California so I should know. The police do not have the budget or man power or political ability to protect us so let us do it ourselves. If you are not threatening harm you have nothing to worry about.

5

 Jun 01, 2008 at 03:08 PM Anonymous Says:

I wonder what the REBBE would think OR THINKS of this guys chassidishe language. Must've seen it in Likutei Sichos???!! With such language your community gets no protection from G-D, so go ahead keep up the good work.The Gemorah says that a gzar din of seventy years is destroyed because of ONE word of foul language.Yes whatever you're supposed to have for your entire life is lost by uttering ONE foul word. I hope THE POST was impressed by your choice of words because I don't think anyone else was.

6

 Jun 01, 2008 at 03:52 PM The goyim Says:

I wonder what the REBBE would think OR THINKS >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Go to the Ohell and find out.

As for the shmira they do a good job but Shomrim is better and they do everything by the book.

There is absolutely no reason for Shmira not to join Shomrim who are trained and know what they are doing 100% of the time.


The only reason many in the community can think of is that these guys do not like listening to orders from the heads of Shomrim and they know they would get kicked out for doing it their way.

What a shame that two groups of people who have the same goal which is PROTECTING THE NEIGHBORHOOD can't get along.


Shame on Shmira.

7

 Jun 01, 2008 at 04:19 PM Um... Says:

Dear Harav Anon @ 3:08pm,

We really appreciate your Kepeidos on our community. True, foul language is a disgrace, but Sinas Chinam destroyed the Beis Hamikdaosh.

Watch what you decree on others ("With such language your community gets no protection from G-D" R"L) for it says that the way one judges others is the way he'll be judged himself. I don't wish any harm on you, all I wish is that instead of everyone going around finding faults in others, let us build each other and not destroy each other. Kol Yisroel areivim zeh lazeh.

May we see achdus between everyone which will definitely bring Moshiach now!

-Your Friend

8

 Jun 01, 2008 at 04:42 PM Anonymous Says:

The Black guy, Andrew Charles Started Assaulting Jews, on President & Albany.

9

 Jun 01, 2008 at 04:55 PM LAVDAFKA Says:

don't be so self-righteous ! you are really upseting me. this whole shmira thing IS IN THE LAW ENFORCMENT INVIERMENT ... ITS A VERY TOUGH ENVIERMENT .. and you edicet ref to the language doesn't apply!!! obvously the reason why there's neg publicty is certainly bacouse of the infighting machlokos.. I know your tatty told you not to use "bad words " grow up!

10

 Jun 01, 2008 at 04:58 PM Anonymous Says:

I don't get this everyone knows what Charles did but no one has the guts to come and this is what I saw Charles doing and YES I called Shmira.

Let the truth come outonce and for all!!!

11

 Jun 01, 2008 at 05:01 PM Anonymous Says:

Who cares close all of them down and create a new one that works along with the NYPD.

Why can't you guys in Crown Hights have what Boro Park & Flatbush have? One nice Shomrim that works hand in hand with the NYPD and get results for the community. Crime in both the 66 and the 70 are down.

12

 Jun 01, 2008 at 05:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Crime is also committed by Jews on Jews, like the brawl at a dorm. I know of a Jewish man who got beaten in his apartment by a Jewish thug. There are also Jewish kids on drugs. Shmira should invite blacks to patrol with them.

13

 Jun 01, 2008 at 07:50 PM Jack Says:

Why does the jewish community have to baby-seat the Black youth? Every time they catch a criminal youth doing a crime, they should send a baby-seating bill to the parents.

14

 Jun 01, 2008 at 07:56 PM Anonymous Says:

I think it's a big chilul Hashem on the Shomrims part. They must have a lot of hate in them. I wonder what did the CH Shmira do that the Shomrim should have so much anger in them???

15

 Jun 01, 2008 at 08:21 PM lavdafka Says:

Personally seeing all the damage that this machlokos is doing and how its weakening the whole community .. I WOULD STEP DOWN AND WALK AWAY.. EVEN THOUGH I KNOW WITH 100% CERTAINTY THAT THE OTHER SIDE IS WICKED!!

16

 Jun 01, 2008 at 08:38 PM Anonymous Says:

The reason on why the CH residents support the Shimra, Its because their late Rebbe was very supportive of the Shmira.

17

 Jun 01, 2008 at 09:00 PM Anonymous Says:

May only blessings go their way! Thank You CH Shmira! From what I have read, from this article, and others in the past, you as an achdusdig organization you held your ground even the DA couldn't break you. I'm sure that what the Shimra does, is all over the radio(equivalent)in shamayim.
With divine help from above, and from the blessings of below, the Shmira has tons of support.
Don't give up on making peace in the neighborhood.
The worlds above and below are with you!
Thank you.

18

 Jun 01, 2008 at 09:12 PM Anonymous Says:

To all who didn't like my remarks regarding the foul language and specifically to "Um...Says": I just don't get it.You have a guy that is representing an established group and community talking foul language. Instaed of condemning it you condone it and bash the ones giving you mussar.I didn't mean any "DECREES"I don't think it's in my ability top quite do that. I was just stating my humble opinion. Unfortunately our generation wants to only hear praise;I hate to break it to you foul language cannot be condoned and will not earn you praise.Foul language of the type he used is a bit more than a "DISGRACE". I have absolutely no kepeidos on your community and wish it only well. I simply think bad behavior as such should be strongly condemned instead of tolerated and swept undert the rug.

19

 Jun 01, 2008 at 09:24 PM Renegade Says:

Some people here need to get a life!

this is what you call foul language? grow up!

thats a normal expression used by normal people, no chilul hashem there.

although I guess if he wanted to be super-carefull he could have said "when the defecation hits the oscillation" instead.

20

 Jun 01, 2008 at 09:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Once and for all. What can the oilim do to help make peace in Crown Heights, and yes I care for that place after all it was the resident of a great great Tzaddik which the whole world admired.
The world owns to give at least a little back to the tzaddiks place of residents.
I believe that he quoted "Kan Tzivah...." can someone help me out please.

21

 Jun 01, 2008 at 09:53 PM Dov Says:

"Anonymous Says:
I think it's a big chilul Hashem on the Shomrims part. They must have a lot of hate in them. I wonder what did the CH Shmira do that the Shomrim should have so much anger in them???"


Look at me, I’m so innocent, I don’t mix in, I don’t really have an opinion, I’m not just making a statement (with out explaining what I mean).

All I’m doing is asking a Question! (whats wrong with that?)

22

 Jun 01, 2008 at 10:05 PM Anonymous Says:

To the goyim says:

How exactly is Shomrim trained? And what book are they going by?

Shomrim and Shmirah do the same thing, both are not exactly trained and both don’t go by any "book".

Whoever is willing to go out and protect my family deserves tremendous credit, so thanks to both Shmirah and Shomrim.

What I don’t agree with is that disgusting website put up by Shomrim bashing Shmira on a very personal level, that’s unacceptable!

23

 Jun 01, 2008 at 10:32 PM BP Says:

308PM. How do u know to whom hashem gives protection and whom not ? What does it have to do what that guy said? I understand its not nice but to judge to whom hashem gives protection and to whom not ,d by the way all the poske hador gave a psak that being on the internet is worse then anything else so hold your comments to yourself

24

 Jun 01, 2008 at 10:42 PM Anonymous Says:

"Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah" Then how can we say this about Shomrim, all the good they did has led to a Hugh chilul Hashem.
The answer must be they did good with bad intentions, just like every lie has a little truth to it so it looks emesdig, but it's a false emes.

25

 Jun 01, 2008 at 11:00 PM Anonymous Says:

To first comment.
Yid Says:
"“Let’s say the s- - - hits the fan."

This is how a chossid speaks? And to a goyishe publication?
-----------------------------------------------
I'm sure at the time of the holocaust, the Yidden spoke the same way about their enemies.

26

 Jun 01, 2008 at 11:15 PM Anonymous Says:

What he meant by, "when the s... hits the fan."
When crime which is a big problem in CH spirals out of control, reinforcement will step-in.

27

 Jun 02, 2008 at 12:04 AM lavdafka Says:

VERY FUNNY!!! I MEAN WHEN "when the defecation hits the oscillation" VERY FUNY YOU MADE ME LAUGH!!! THANKS!!!.

28

 Jun 03, 2008 at 03:27 AM shimon Says:

to all those who dont live in crown heights do not talk if you dont know when you have 2 black thugs walking down the street and staring at you the next step is beating towards the jew this or when there is call goes out 3am a woman hears foot steps in her house and she calls shmira and with in a minutes time you have handfull of units responding and aproach the house and later learn the guy has gun and shmira apprehends the black thug let me tell you something the stories goes on and on shmira is volunteer organzation which is highly respected in our community people and has handfull of highly perfesional guys who have good jobs lawyers paremedics emts etc who supports it all the way shmira risks their lives everyday to make crownheights safer shmira does not racial profile when you have guy at 1am looking in to cars yes your gona keep an eye on him its very hard for organzation to do its work when you have people from the out side who dont know crap put them down and dont get me wrong people in shmira have gotten beaten up by black thugs who they try to help another jew this kid andrew charles and his buddy he was with threw rocks at jews and had fight the reason why police and press does not mention other guy is because he has crime report of assult and felony my cgharles should be arrested for false accusations and for throwing rocks which is deadly weapon and its felony shomrim of crown heights allways buff hatzalah calls chase cop cars and fire trucks they have no training whats so ever they are jealous of shmira everytime they find out new member has joined shmira they threaten that member for his life and than they make up false accusations to the police trying to get that guy arrested thats what shomrim is all about mosser patrol now everyone knows real facts we need moshiach allready

29

 Jun 03, 2008 at 07:43 AM lavdafka Says:

Thank you Levi L for your elaborate speech! Bravo!

30

 Jun 03, 2008 at 11:48 AM Anonymous Says:

To Shimon.
Very well said, keep up the good work. and God bless you.

31

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