Citing an uptick in crime, hundreds of Mill Basin families are pledging their support to a proposed private security patrol for the southern Brooklyn peninsula — and they feel so strongly about the idea that they’re planning to cover the cost themselves.
“The program is needed because over the past five or six years there has been a dramatic uptick in vehicle break-ins and drug dealing on many, many blocks in our community and we want this to stop,” said Bradley Reisman, lead organizer of the newly-formed group My Mill Basin.
Reisman and a small group of neighbors resurrected the idea for a security patrol — which Mill Basin residents have previously called for — on Sunday and, just two days later, a whopping 300 families had committed to paying the estimated dues required to fund the effort.
“Our group was started 48 hours ago,” Reisman said on Tuesday. “We as a community realize that if we want our neighborhood to return to the peaceful existence, which we realize how much we treasured, then we need to do this ourselves and not rely on someone else.”
Organizers allege a spike in crime over the last five to six years and claim a private patrol would be able to pay more individualized attention to the Mill Basin peninsula than the 63rd Precinct has the ability to.
“The police can’t be everywhere and we don’t expect them to be,” Reisman said. “They have their hands full and it is simply impossible for them to keep their marked and NYPD vehicles staffed in our neighborhood just for the sake of observing.”
Overall, petit larcenies in Brooklyn’s 63rd Precinct — which patrols the peninsula, as well as Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Flatlands and Georgetown — are down, according to city crime stats, but residents stand by that crime in Mill Basin is on the rise and Reisman suspects that, with added security in Mill Basin, cops will have more success in nabbing the neighborhood’s carjackers, who are often long gone by the time an officer gets to the scene.
“Naturally, when someone is observed trying to gain access to a vehicle or residence, the police are notified but in most cases, if not all, the perpetrator has long since disappeared before the officers show up,” Reisman said. “Because of this, we would like our neighborhood to have a quicker response, a more neighborhood-dedicated safety layer.”
Reisman aims to attract 1,200 Mill Basin families before moving forward with the program. At the target level of membership, he estimates the service would cost each family close to $500 a year to cover the approximate $750,000 annual cost of three patrol cars.
The organizing group has even enlisted the support of local religious establishments, according to Reisman, but neighborhood officials are not as optimistic that the plan will pan out.
“The Mill Island, Bergen Beach and Georgetown Civic Associations had very successful security patrol many years ago at a fraction of the cost per family,” Dorothy Turano, district manager of Community Board 18, told Brooklyn Paper.
The patrols, she said, fizzled out after locals lost enthusiasm and began falling behind on dues.
“The difficulties maintaining the patrol for more than a few years were caused by a failed effort to collect the funds and in sustaining the volunteers,” Turano said.
Area Councilman Alan Maisel expressed doubt that many families would agree to additional costs during a pandemic.
“Times are especially difficult for a lot of people having who don’t see income coming in,” Maisel said, “so I am not too sure how many are going to actually subscribe to this.”
Turano is also skeptical of the group’s infancy, and called the politically charged flyer floating around “questionable.”
“The credibility of the unsigned “MY MILL BASIN” flyer (who are they?) is questionable when the flyer states that an endorsement was received from Highway Patrol 2 and the President of the 63rd Precinct Community Council,” she wrote in an email, “and the swipe that was made at the ‘local’ State Senator without naming all of our elected officials gives the suggestion of a political connotation.”
The flyer, which lays out the logistics of the proposal, takes a jab at the peninsula’s politicians — including State Senator Roxanne Persaud, specifically — for not working towards lowering the presumed spike in crime.
“Our cherished neighborhood has been victimized by drug dealing and vehicle break-ins for the past 5 years. Our politicians (including our local state senator) have done nothing,” reads the flyer. “It is time to be proactive and safeguard our streets in the form of professional patrol services before more problems arise.”
Persaud’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.