Queens Borough Safety Patrol Shmira unveiled three new vehicles in Forest Hills Tuesday night, the result of fundraising over the past year.
The organization was founded in 2015 after a series of Forest Hills arsons with the “main purpose of being an extra set of eyes and ears to the Police Department and being an extra set of hands for our community,” said co-founder Hiski Mierov.
The organization has more than 100 volunteers and patrols around several neighborhoods, including Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Jamaica Estates, Kew Gardens and Kew Gardens Hills, according to member Steven Saphirstein.
“Whether it’s a search and rescue, emergency services or public safety issue, you can always count on Shmira and its members,” Mierov said.
Its fundraiser, on Chardiy.com, said last year that its personnel were stretched thin and that with hate crimes on the rise, “every set of eyes counts.” With a goal of $100,000, the group raised more than $150,000.
“We have all come to the realization that our safety is a priority,” Mierov said.
The group purchased two-way radios, uniforms and three new marked patrol vehicles.
“All of this has enabled our organization to thrive and help the community,” Mierov said.
Shmira operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including the Sabbath, with a rabbinical advisor.
Members of the 112th Precinct attended the outdoor event at the Bukharian Jewish Community Center on 70th Avenue.
“Policing is a shared responsibility between police and the community,” said Capt. Joseph Cappelmann, commanding officer of the precinct. “We cannot be effective, we cannot do our job without your support, without the community.”
Shmira can be seen cleaning graffiti, shoveling snow and sometimes bringing medication to the elderly.
The group is the largest all-volunteer organization of its type in the borough.
Shmira also has divisions in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Los Angeles, Miami and Jerusalem.
Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Jamaica Estates) said he was out of his district at the unveiling, but for a good reason.
“QBSP, I applaud your service to the community,” he said. “I applaud your commitment to safety.”
The emergency contact for Shmira is (718) 329-4444. The group can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.