Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tragedy In Borough Park Puts Shomrim Under Scrutiny

As the Borough Park community struggles with the brutal murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, and as more information surfaces about the history and emotional state of his accused killer, the tragedy is shining a light on the neighborhood watch groups that operate within the strictly Orthodox communities — and the largely under-the-surface tensions between these groups and the NYPD.

Those tensions became more apparent in recent days as sources in the community and the NYPD expressed frustration with how the Shomrim (Hebrew for “guardians”) operate – however well intentioned – with little accountability, sometimes hindering the work of the police.

The heartbreaking outcome in the Leiby case is seen by some in these circles as a dramatic case in point.
The Shomrim, who respond to calls about everything from vandalism to missing persons, domestic violence and sexual abuse, are highly respected in their communities. While they don’t have the power to make arrests, they tend to be trusted more than police in these tight-knit communities, as they have a reputation for responding quickly to calls and taking care of their own.

They have also been criticized at times for overzealousness bordering on vigilantism. [...]


  1. The accusations here are unfounded, and are a vicious fraudulent attack on purely innocent people and organizations. The basis for this is nothing more than pure hatred for the orthodox and their programs. It is simply anti-semitic. Those perpetrating these lies are true enemies of Yidden world over. I find it appalling that this article is reprinted here, where there are higher standards of acceptability.

    There are others spreading these lies. There have always been areas of rub between NYPD and Shomrim. The recent event was an exemplary display of how these systems work together, supporting each other. There is no political favoritism agenda. Someone has been smoking something mind altering. I am sorry to express myself so strongly, but when I see media propagating lies in ways that the public accepts it, I must scream out the emes.

    Does everybody notice all the "unnamed" sources in NYPD? This insures that verification is impossible. We should not be fooled by that old trick. I deny that such sources exist altogether. These are opinions of the haters of Yiddishkeit sitting in front of their word processors. The brass never said it.

  2. I appreciate your cry of pain. Unfortunately the article does bring up some genuine issues which should not be ignored.
    No one is questioning the mesiras nefesh of the Shomrim.

    The police - at least in Boro Park - are strongly influenced by political and other factors. This is not a fantasy as any one who deals with these issues will tell you.

    The question remains of how the police and Shomrim are coordinated. The same applies to the police in Boro Park and the rabbinical establishment.

  3. Get over it. It won't change.


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