They also help locate missing people. Shomrim volunteers are unarmed and do not have the authority to make arrests, other than citizen's arrest. They are effective in tracking and detaining suspects until police arrive. In Brooklyn ,  Baltimore ,  and London   many residents call Shomrim prior to the police due to the former's shorter response time.
They don't tend to waste our time and they don't let people go". The forerunner of the Shomrim was the Maccabees , a Jewish patrol organization founded by Samuel Schrage in in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.
While initially successful, it was disbanded at the end of the decade due to political pressure amid allegations of lack of oversight and tense relations with the African American community. Shomrim was first established in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park , Crown Heights, Flatbush , and Williamsburg in the late s and early s.
In around , a split in the organization occurred in Crown Heights when the rival group Shmira broke off from the Shomrim. This was the first time two competing groups were patrolling the same neighborhood. Shomrim volunteers — who range from a few dozen to over , depending on the group — work on foot or in cars.
Generally, members work two to a vehicle that is equipped with a radio and a siren. They wear identifying jackets and yarmulkes on the job. The volunteers, says a coordinator, do not carry guns, batons, pepper spray, or handcuffs,  and do not have the authority to make arrests. They have been known to quickly mobilize area residents to block off streets in order to stop suspects. Each Shomrim group maintains its own dispatcher and hour hotline,  whose number is known throughout the Orthodox Jewish community.
Shomrim responds to a wide variety of crimes and cases, including reports of purse snatching, vandalism, car and bicycle thefts, and missing people.
Volunteers patrol the city streets in the overnight hours as a deterrent presence. Shomrim has been effective in apprehending suspects of burglaries  robberies,  assault,  car thefts,   vandalism,  domestic violence,  nuisance crimes,  and antisemitic attacks. Shomrim volunteers have occasionally been criticized for using excessive force with suspects, particularly non-Jews.
In a Crown Heights Shomrim volunteer was convicted of assault charges after repeatedly hitting a suspect on the head with a walkie-talkie after the man had been subdued. He was suspended pending internal investigation, with Shomrim confident that he would be vindicated in court,  and was sentenced to three years of probation in Many Shomrim organisations call together an annual Community Engagement Event, with advice on crime prevention and bike registration.
Shomrim maintains a delicate working relationship with local police departments and Shomrim regularly shares its information on crime with officers. The relationship is a sensitive one, however. Many residents of Hasidic neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Baltimore, and Stamford Hill tend to call Shomrim in an emergency rather than the police.
Shomrim cites its faster response time, knowledge of the territory, and ability to speak Yiddish , the language of the Hasidic community, for the residents' preference.
While the expectation is for Shomrim to notify police, this is done in some cases  but not in others. In Brooklyn, the civilian patrol has been accused of withholding information about suspected local child molesters. But Shomrim does not share this information with police due to the Torah prohibition against mesirah informing on a fellow Jew to the non-Jewish authorities.
Shomrim have on many occasions received awards and commendations from the police for their work. The founding of Shomrim organizations in North West London and Stamford Hill in initially met with disapproval by the London Metropolitan Police, which questioned the existence of a community patrol working in tandem with trained police officers  and claimed they were endangering themselves.
Today the Hackney borough commander commends Shomrim in its role as "evidence-gathers" and support for police activities. Stamford Hill Shomrim members receive ongoing training from the Police at Stoke Newington Police Station and are kept updated about new, targeted police operations in the area. Shomrim organizations receive voluntary donations mostly from members of the Orthodox Jewish Community they serve. New York Shomrim groups have been successful at securing taxpayer funding in member earmarks for their operations, allowing them to buy sophisticated equipment.
Commentators cite the groups' effectiveness and also their political clout as a voting bloc that follows rabbis' direction. Shomrim organizations in each neighbourhood or city operates independently. There are some exceptions, where there is a tight affiliation with neighbouring Shomrim organizations, a loose affiliation of neighbouring Shomrim organizations, or some other basic level of cooperation. The dispatchers, owners of the tire shop, receive about calls a day  and direct a force of members.
Brooklyn South Shomrim came to international attention as the coordinator of a massive volunteer search for Leiby Kletzky , an 8-year-old Boro Park boy who went missing while walking home from day camp in July ; he was later found murdered by a Kensington resident. The Brooklyn South command center alerted other Shomrim patrols in Flatbush, Williamsburg, and Crown Heights, as well as Haredi communities in Monsey, Monroe , Lawrence , Passaic , and Lakewood , to mobilize up to 5, Orthodox Jewish volunteers for a block-by-block search for the missing boy.
After police identified the suspect's car from surveillance videos ,  two Flatbush volunteers searching in nearby Kensington spotted the car;  the suspect was apprehended by police shortly after.
Later the Brooklyn South Shomrim maintained order at the huge funeral for the victim  and outside the parents' home during the week-long shiva period. Lichtenstein has led a life of great deeds. He has also committed a great crime. You participated in corrupting the New York City police department. He was charged the next day with third-degree rape, a criminal sex act, sexual abuse, forcible touching, and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than Crown Heights Shomrim was founded in Members, driving repainted police cars, respond to armed robberies, burglaries, and assaults in progress, as well as automobile accidents and general assistance to residents.
While they are not authorized to make arrests, they will chase suspects and try to detain them by surrounding them and talking to them until police arrive [ citation needed ]. Boro Park Shmira is the name of a rival safety patrol in Borough Park. The Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, originally known as Brooklyn Midwood Shomrim, was founded in by Chaim Deutsch  with the support of neighborhood rabbinic leaders.
At the time, police did not have the manpower to respond immediately to crimes in progress. If they see a crime in progress, they summon police, who respond promptly. Often the Shomrim volunteers serve as witnesses for the filing of police reports. Members also carry special equipment for opening locked houses and cars. The Williamsburg Shomrim was founded in by a local resident, in response to a wave of violent muggings perpetuated on Jewish residents by non-Jews.
In , most of its 50 members worked six nights a week. In a Shomrim patrol attacked a student in south Williamsburg. The victim, who remains blind in his left eye, stated that while beating him, the men yelled homophobic slurs. Five suspects were arrested; one was convicted of gang assault and other charges all of which were later overturned on appeal, two pled guilty to lesser offenses and were sentenced to probation and community service in "culturally diverse neighborhoods", and two had the charges dismissed as the witnesses recanted their identification.
The patrol had claimed to be responding to reports of car vandalism, but this was deemed "unfounded. Baltimore Shomrim was founded in in response to a rash of burglaries in the city's Orthodox Jewish community. In its first five years, the organization received over 4, calls for assistance.
Members — generally local Orthodox businessmen and shopkeepers — wear matching jackets and carry two-way radios. The organization divides the area under surveillance into quadrants and responds quickly to all calls. Among the calls for help are bicycle thefts, missing children, and suicide attempts. The Lakewood Civilian Safety Watch, commonly known as the Lakewood Shomrim, was formed in by Chaim Rubin and Aaron Kugielsky  after an incident in which a local cheder teacher walking home one evening was attacked by an assailant with a steel bat.
The organization patrols the streets of Lakewood Township, New Jersey in marked cars. It fields an average of calls a month. It also conducts public awareness campaigns for summer safety, school bus safety, and driving safety, and bicycle registration drives. After a slow start a former member of the Guardian Angels joined and helped revitalize the patrol. LA Shmira currently has 4 dispatchers and 20 volunteer responders, including three Rabbis.
The Stamford Hill Shomrim, founded in by Efrayim Goldstein,  has many volunteers and a hour emergency hotline. On average, Stamford Hill Shomrim receives approximately hotline calls a year;  however, the members deal with incidents as and when they come across it too. On many occasions, especially during searches for High Risk Missing People , Stamford Hill Shomrim members would patrol out of these boundaries. Stamford Hill Shomrim is currently headed by three Trustees,  a Discipline Committee and an Executive Committee elected by its members.
In , after the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby , and an increase in hate crimes against the wider Muslim community,  Stamford Hill Shomrim offered to help the local Muslim community and keep a watchful eye on local mosques and Muslim community centres,   which was gratefully welcomed by the North London Muslim community as stated by Eusoof Amerat, a Muslim community advocate in Hackney and commended by the Hackney Police Borough Commander. Shomrim's offer to the Muslim community was included in the annual report on International Religious Freedom and recognised by the US Secretary of State John Kerry in his speech when publishing this report,  saying "in London, an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood watch team helped Muslim leaders protect their mosque and prevent future attacks".
He continued by saying "they will not receive prizes; they may not ever receive recognition. Their courage goes unremarked, but that makes it all the more remarkable. Believe me, that's the definition of courage".
Stamford Hill Shomrim have on many occasions received public praise from the higher ranks, as on one occasion by Metropolitan Police Superintendent David Grainger  after a successful double arrest for burglary on the vulnerable,  and have been lauded by Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh. In August , Stamford Hill Shomrim organised its first annual Community Engagement Event where an estimated six thousand people participated,  for advice on crime prevention  and bike marking.
It was founded by Gary Ost in as a registered charity  which operates as "mobile neighborhood watch" and acts as eyes and ears to the local Community and the Metropolitan Police. At least 2 vehicles patrol the area every night. Shomrim London NW operate a hour emergency response team which will dispatch units to a scene of an emergency  and will liaise with the other responding emergency services.
Volunteers are in radio contact, and dispatched via a central dispatcher. All volunteers have completed training from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command SO15 in assisting to identify potential security threats and suspicious activity. The Jewish Rabbinate in London have thanked Shomrim London NW for the dedication of its volunteers and for providing a valuable service in enhancing the quality of life within the Jewish neighborhood.
Ost, chief executive of Shomrim North-West London feels that reporting rates have increased  in Barnet due to Shomrim's presence there and their work became doubly important during the London riots in July . On July 4, , an anti-Shomrim protest organized by neo-Nazis was held at Whitehall. Jeremy Bedford Turner, one of the leading skinheads of the London Forum , was arrested for incitement to racial hatred following an antisemitic speech he made at the rally in which he called upon the protestors to "free England from Jewish control.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Shomrim disambiguation. Retrieved 8 August The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 July