By COLlive reporter
The New York Police Department says it is taking seriously the migration of the violent street game “Knock Out” to the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn.
“Addressing it very aggressively and rapidly will certainly bring a successful conclusion to these incidents,” said Assistant Chief Owen Monaghan, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South.
Chief Monaghan spoke with COLlive.com following a stroll on Kingston Avenue where he had a chance to hear from Jewish residents who are the main target of the local unprovoked attacks.
“All the measures we are taking go hand in hand with the community outreach we are doing, and most importantly, to increase the uniformed visibility in the entire area,” he said.
Fox News reported in 2011 that “Knock Out” incidents, also known as “Knockout King,” have been reported around the country, including Massachusetts, New Jersey and Chicago. In St. Louis, an elderly person died in an attack.
“Those looking to do harm should know we are posed and ready to arrest anyone looking to do a crime or commit an act of hate,” Chief Monaghan stated.
The actual plan to prevent further attacks was presented Friday to COLlive by Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the new Commanding Officer of the 71st Precinct who covers the neighborhood.
An additional 22 officers have been assigned to the neighborhood, and a sergeant and 12 officers will be patrolling the zone where the incidents occurred, who will be out there from 1:30 in the afternoon to 9:30 pm.
The police will also be visiting Bais Rivka on Crown Street and Darchei Menachem on Rutland Avenue to speak to the girls about safety and getting home safely.
“Those two schools will also be covered during dismissal because those areas are more susceptible to incidents,” explained Fitzgibbon.
Two officers will be stationed in front of those two schools during dismissal and for an hour afterwards, until 5 pm at Bais Rivkah and 6 pm at Darchei Menachem, where one of the incidents occurred.
Friday night, when many Jewish residents are walking the streets due to Shabbos, is being taken into special consideration, with as many as 40-60 auxiliary officers coming in to patrol the neighborhood on the weekends.
The neighborhood is being divided into quadrants, being patrolled 7 days a week by an extra 4-6 police cars from the Task Force who will be driving around the streets, mobile and extremely visible. 2-3 scooters will be driving around, also highly visible.
“This should help to make people feel more safe,” Fitzgibbon explained. “All these measures will hopefully make people think twice before doing a crime.”
And it seems the heavy response by the NYPD has already begun to pay off.
Over the last few days 71st Precinct Patrol developed information on the three individuals responsible for throwing a rock that hit a young Jewish boy on Brooklyn Avenue.
All three individuals were interviewed and one juvenile report was done. Because all three children involved are only 11, their schools were notified and detectives and 71 precinct personnel talked with their parents, COLlive was told.
The Hate Crimes unit has been at work in the past few days, following a few good leads, with detectives interviewing a number of people. “Wanted” signs based on footage from an attack on Kingston Avenue, were hung around the neighborhood on Friday, in the hopes of catching the perpetrators.
“There is camera footage from a number of angles available, but some of it is really unclear as to the identity of the perpetrators,” explained Fitzgibbon.
One important measure taken by the NYPD is preventative: working to educate the children in the local public schools about tolerance of their Jewish neighbors.
“We have been visiting local public schools, speaking to them about sensitivity, cultural awareness and bullying,” explained Officer Vincent Martinos of the 71st Precinct.
Schools visited already are MS 2, 61, 722 and 352 and PS 375 and 587, with an additional 15 schools to be visited in the near future. A local Advanced Learning Center will be hosting activist Richard Green, who will speak with the students.
Local public schools will also be visiting the Jewish Children’s Museum, which promotes tolerance and understanding of the Jewish faith.
Although the individuals in the rock throwing incident have been caught, all these security measures will remain in place.
“These measures will continue until the incidents have subsided or we have someone in custody,” explained Deputy Inspector Fitzgibbon.