The Orthodox Jewish police are cracking down on graffiti art in Williamsburg
Five are arrested over a four-hour period for trying to tag three separate locations
Wed Jun 18 2014
Photograph: Creative Commons/ Courtesy of Flickr User Bitchcakes
There’s a new sheriff posse in town, and they’re wearing peyos. Actually, it’s not so new: In fact, the Shomrim Williamsburg Safety Patrol—known simply as the Shomrim, Hebrew for "guard"—has been around for years, serving as a crime-prevention first line of defense for the neighborhood’s ultra–Orthodox Jewish community. There are also Shomrim patrols in others parts of Brooklyn with heavily Jewish neighborhoods, including Crown Heights and Borough Park.
Consisting of about 25 members, they patrol Williamsburg like real cops, and not without controversy. They drive unmarked cars painted the same blue and white as NYPD cruisers, and the badge on their Facebook site is pretty much indistinguishable from the one worn by New York’s Finest. They don’t carry guns, and have no power to arrest anybody, but that hasn’t stopped them from snatching people they deem suspicious, and offering up the occasional beatdown.
Notwithstanding the charges of vigilante justice (and accusations of racial profiling), however, even some of the nabe’s Hispanic and African-American residents think the Shomrim do a good job keeping things safe, by driving around, listening to police scanners and “lighting up” on presumed preps with their own version of a cherry top.
This past weekend, for instance, in the small hours of Sunday morning, they aided the NYPD is nailing five suspects writing graffiti on buildings, and in one instance, on a Con Edison truck. The arrests actually involved three separate events between the hours of 1:10 and 4:45am, according to calls made to 911. During the last bust, two suspects were cornered on the roof of a deli. It turns out they were also in possession of burglary tools. And, as we like to say in New York, that ain’t kosher.
Get in touch
- Quiz: How much of a New Yorker are you?
- Comedian duo Desus and Mero share a guide to their favorite Bronx spots
- The 12 best restaurants for dim sum in NYC
- See the progress at the gargantuan Hudson Yards development project
- The best gelato shops in NYC
- See stunning photos from NYC Bodypainting Day
- Courtney Barnett on blowing up, endlessly touring and chowing down at Roberta’s
- Check out these photos of New York's cutest bodega cats
- The 10 best acts to see at Afropunk Festival 2015
- The best tiki bars and beach bars in NYC