The 45th Precinct Civilian Patrol needs your help.
According to the civilian patrol’s coordinators, Niko Kritikos and Barry Wyman, the recently formed patrol is seeking volunteers to assist the police department by serving as its eyes and ears at the street level.
Kritikos, a Country Club resident, explained the civilian patrol is still in the application process with 19 people presently registered.
He added the 45th Precinct is currently conducting a thorough background check on these volunteers to ensure they are all in good standing with the law.
Kritikos said the civilian patrol will have roll calls and collaborate with the 45th Precinct who will provide the patrol with a three to six-hour training course at their 2877 Barkley Avenue precinct house.
The course will cover what these volunteers can and cannot do in their roles as civilian patrol officers and will cover the proper procedures required such as calling 911 whenever they see any suspicious activity.
Wyman, a Throggs Neck resident, said he was aware of the Morris Park Civilian Patrol and of Queens’ 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol and was looking into how one could be formed in the 45th Precinct.
Wyman met Kritikos via a Facebook group called the 45th Precinct Unofficial Police Blotter in which about 2,800 residents share with others about different criminal activity occurring in and around their neighborhood.
The two then started formulating how to get the program going by meeting with the precinct’s community affairs and Community Board 10.
Both coordinators explained criminal incidents such as tire and rim thefts along Bruckner Boulevard, teens on bicycles riding alongside parked cars in Country Club to see if the doors are unlocked to steal valuables and thieves sneaking into people’s backyards to steal bicycles have been shared on the page and hope a civilian patrol can help deter these acts.
“There’s a lot of things that happen in the precinct that residents are not aware of,” said Wyman. “The civilian patrol is meant to serve as the eyes and ears of the neighborhood and to inform the police of what is going on. We hope if established, the civilian patrol can help cut down the amount of quality of life issues called into the precinct by serving as a deterrent.”
“The civilian patrol program is a very good idea and it has been brought up many times at the precinct’s community council meetings,” said Bob Beider, 45th Precinct Community Council president. “Social media sites such as Facebook can be a great tool in connecting people and getting them to become more proactive and involved in their community and this is how the civilian patrol program has gained this level of interest among members of our community. We have actually seen an increase in attendance at the monthly precinct community council meetings because of social media’s influence.”
Patty Justiniano, Schuyler Hill Civic Association events coordinator and Pelham Bay resident, welcomes the idea of having a civilian patrol citing recent tire and rim thefts occurring two houses away from her on Bruckner Boulevard, but offered some advice on how it can be more effectively utilized.
“I think it’s a good concept, but in the past, people who volunteered wanted to patrol their own neighborhoods (only),” said Justiniano. “If we’re going to have a civilian patrol in the 45th Precinct, the volunteers should be able to patrol their own neighborhoods because they have a better concept of what’s normal and what’s not in their neighborhood.”
“Even if you can do a couple hours a week that would help out a lot,” said Kritikos.