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Negro Ministers Endorse Brooklyn Safety Patrols

June 11, 1964 - A Negro clergymen’s group that represents 72 churches in Brooklyn and on Long Island endorsed today the Crown Heights Community Patrols (pictured) originated by Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. The ministers pledged their own participation in the fight against crime in New York City.

In a statement, they announced an “immediate effort to organize community agencies in Bedford-Stuyvesant for the purpose of making the community safe for all residents.”

The chairman of the group, the Rev. B.J. Lowry, denied that Negroes would sponsor their own roving patrols, but he said that the number of Negroes participating in patrols with the Hasidic Jews would be increased.

At the conference, the ministers were sharply critical of what they called police and public apathy toward crime in the city. One of them, the Rev. W.A. Jones Jr., said: “We recognize the absence of adequate police protection in the area. The people in Crown Heights were the ones who brought it to our attention. Perhaps we ourselves have been somewhat apathetic and lethargic in the past. But we want to combat apathy of the public and the slowness of the police.”

The Crown Heights Community Patrols are made up of citizens who have volunteered to patrol the Bedford-Stuyvesant area to supplement police protection. They were organized earlier this year when the Hasidic Jews felt they were being terrorized and harassed.

When the patrols were first formed, Negroes in the area feared they had been organized as a vigilante group. The Negroes now say their suspicions are groundless and that the group is helping to reduce crime in the community. About 20 Negroes are riding in the patrols now, according to the community group.

The patrols were organized by Rabbi Samuel Schrage. One of his assistants, Martin Glass, was at today’s meeting and said he endorsed the steps the Negro ministers were taking.

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