Planned patrol in 45th Pct. ready to roll

A community-based initiative to help police thwart crime is moving forward.

The effort to establish a community patrol in the northeast Bronx, Community on Patrol Corp., is in the process of being certified a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, said founder Niko Kritikos. The group hopes to start operations as soon as possible.

They are currently holding a fundraising raffle with a drawing set for Sunday, April 30, he said.

The patrol will focus on the 45th Precinct with the exception of Co-op City, said Kritikos.

“The fundraiser is basically so we can get insurance for the patrol,” said Kritikos, adding several people are interested in volunteering and the group has a personal use vehicle that will be converted into a patrol car.

Raffle tickets are being sold for $5 each or $20 for five tickets, and can be purchased on the organization’s website: www.communityonpatrol.org. Gift certificates will be awarded as prizes, he said.

His motivation for starting the patrol was his own observations in his Country Club community and others nearby, he said.

“My own motivation was being involved in the community (and) being hit by a drunk driver in a hit and run,” he said.

Even more importantly, according to Kritikos, are crimes occurring at night like theft of spare change from inside cars and of bicycles the he believes need attention.

“These (types of crimes) are very important to the community,” he said, adding he also plans on two initiatives in addition to the patrol: an effort to help people who cannot walk in the snow get rides and a ‘stranger danger’ children’s effort.

Patrol training is planned in-house using civilian observation patrol guidelines, he said.

The patrol would function as the eyes and ears of the police, and would not tackle crimes in progress.

The patrol members would alert police and wait for responders.

He believes a patrol can act as a crime deterrent and encourage more accurate crime reporting that could lead to allocation of more resources to the 45th Precinct.

Local activist Annie Boller is assisting the effort by helping with office work and website creation.

Boller said that thefts of auto tires and rims are getting out of hand, and a greater community presence is needed.

A retired cop and an advocate of community efforts to support police and halt crime, John Marano, said the new patrol needs support of police and elected officials.

“I think his success will be based on his relationship with both,” he said, adding communication must be kept open at all times.

Irrespective of any patrol, the community should get more involved and call 911 or 311 when they see something that doesn’t look right, he said.

“If there were more people getting involved on their own, including business and property owners, it would help the community overall,” he said.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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