Shomrim Patrol

Shomrim Patrol Shomrim (Hebrewשׁוֹמְרִים, 'watchers', 'guards') or Shmira (Hebrewשְׁמִירָה, 'protection') are organizations of proactive volunteer Jewish civilian patrols which have been set up in Haredi communities in neighborhoods across the United States, Canada[1] and the United Kingdom (among other countries) to combat burglaryvandalismmuggingassaultdomestic violence, nuisance crimes and antisemitic attacks, and to help and support victims of crime. They also help locate missing people. Shomrim volunteers are unarmed and do not have the authority to make arrests, other than citizen's arrest. Some Shomrim members in the United States have been convicted of assaults and misdemeanors against people from outside their community.[2][3][4][5] In Brooklyn,[6] Baltimore,[7] and London[8][9] many residents call Shomrim prior to the police due to the former's shorter response time.[10] However, one of the volunteer patrols in New York has been criticised by the New York City Police Department for not always notifying police when a call comes in.[2] In London, however, the Hackney Police Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Matthew Horne complimented Shomrim on this point, saying that "they will generally know when is the time to call us. They don't tend to waste our time and they don't let people go".[11] Additionally, Brooklyn Shomrim organisers have been accused of withholding information on suspected child molesters and other Jewish criminals, in keeping with an interpretation of the Torah prohibition against mesirah (informing on a fellow Jew to the non-Jewish authorities).[12][13][14] The forerunner of the Shomrim was the Maccabees, a Jewish patrol organization founded by Samuel Schrage in 1964 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.[15] Shomrim was first established in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Borough Park, Crown Heights, Flatbush, and Williamsburg in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[2][6][13] Similar patrols were later established in Haredi neighborhoods in Monsey, New York,[citation needed] Baltimore,[3] Miami,[16] Waterbury, Connecticut,[17] and London,[18] United Kingdom.[19] In around 1998, a split in the organization occurred in Crown Heights when the rival group Shomrim broke off from the original group Shmira. This was the first time two competing groups were patrolling the same neighborhood.[20]

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