A new patrol group is looking to make the streets of Zerega a bit safer.
Located in the heart of the 45th Precinct’s busiest sector, Bronx County Public Safety has already started patrolling from their headquarters on St. Peter’s Avenue, and currently has three patrol cars.
The not-for-profit was established with a dream of bringing back “the original fabric” of the community and is now seeking partnerships with the NYPD, non-profits and elected officials from around the borough, according to Elpidio Daniel Negron.
The group was founded in 2014, is licensed and bonded by New York State for security and is not an organization looking for members, but rather a group of retired law enforcement personnel, security officers and social service providers trying to make a difference.
“I have always had a passion for helping others,” said Negron, adding that previously he had started a community patrol in the 46th Precinct where he was in many cases able to get first aid to people before EMS arrived.
Negron said he was an Emergency Medical Technician and worked in the intravenous unit at the Westchester Square Medical Center, before it shut down.
He said that he is established the patrol because he felt that over the years the Zerega community needs more attention.
“Crime started increasing, a lot of people started moving out,” he said. “I have heard the concerns of the local community…that they don’t feel safe anymore.”
Some people in the community even say that the local police precinct has forgotten them, according to Negron and members of the organization’s board.
“We provide extra measures of security and resources for the community,” said Negron.
Negron’s chief of operations, Luis Atiles, believes that the large geographically area of the 45th Precinct may be a factor in the need for extra protection through community patrols in Zerega.
In general, attrition of the police force could also be a factor, he said.
“In the past few years, police have been retiring at a large rate and they have not been replenished,” he said.
In Zerega, many of the residents have limited English proficiency and in some cases may be undocumented, said Negron, adding he believes that this may lead to under-reporting of crime.
According to Negron, the patrol falls under the umbrella of a larger non-profit, called Community Protective Agency, Inc., that also includes a youth empowerment program, which appears to be getting off the ground.
They also run a veterans program that helps veterans become licensed security guards, said Negron.
According to the organization’s board of directors, the group is also interested in providing security for hire to groups in need of it in the area.
According to their website, the group officers could potentially provide professional services including armed protection, security officers and patrol, doorman and concierge, fireguards, quality assurance and special event security.
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