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Zaki Tamir, chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, said black and Jewish community leaders have enjoyed good relations in recent years, and the neighborhood has become safer over the past decade, in part due to gentrification. He acknowledged that the latest attacks are shattering the sense of security that had been built up.
“Suddenly this is reminiscent of old times and it makes everyone feel very vulnerable,” Tamir said.
Civilian patrols working in conjunction with the police have been stepped up to help escort children home from the train at night, as well as women and those considered easier targets, according to Tamir.
The community is “more organized than ever before in terms of preventing crime and keeping streets nonviolent,” he said. “People realize Crown Heights is not a haven for hoodlums anymore.”
At a press conference Monday at the Crown Heights Youth Collective, several Brooklyn elected officials, including Eric Adams, the incoming borough president, condemned the attacks, and Tamir’s group offered a $1,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of perpetrators.
Nathan, a Chocolate cafe employee who did not want to give his last name, said news of the attacks prompted him to stop allowing his three children, the oldest of whom is 8, to play unattended outside the lobby of his apartment building.
On Saturday, Brooklyn resident Amrit Marajh was arraigned for an attack from the previous day in Borough Park. Police initially said Marajh was being charged with a hate crime but later told The New York Times he had been charged with assault, harassment and menacing.
Marajh, who apparently has a Jewish girlfriend and has never been arrested, denied the charges and was released on $750 bail.