Last week we reported on the rally organized in Park Slope by a new community group, Safe Slope. We learned that Safe Slope is starting a Safe Walk program that will pair women walking alone at night with walking buddies, and a Safe Space program that will partner with local businesses to provide safe havens for anyone who feels unsafe on the street. Now, women in Park Slope and the surrounding areas have a third option: the newly-formed Brooklyn Bike Patrol will provide bike escorts to solo walkers.
The Bike Patrol is the brainchild of Jay Ruiz,
55 46, and so far has 10 bikers signed on. Ruiz told the Daily News that the patrol would operate in Park Slope and also Prospect Heights, where he lives. Ruiz and his 10 volunteers will be on call from 8 p.m. to midnight and focus mostly on five neighborhood subway stations. They began offering escorts on Friday.
“It’s so bad to see women getting attacked,” Ruiz told the Daily News. “I feel like I have to do something.” He said the Take Back Our Streets rally inspired him to start the group. We haven’t yet been able to reach Safe Slope, but we did hear from Teresa Ish, the woman behind the petition to get free self-defense classes, who told us in an email “I haven’t seen this, but I think it’s great. You can be sure I’m adding the number to my phone (as well as the number for the ride share and walkers).”
We spoke with Ruiz on the phone this morning. He said that two more people have called the patrol wanting to volunteer since the NYDN article ran today and that they’re looking to get at least 20 volunteers. “I patrol every day, but not everyone can,” he said. The patrol is trying to get t-shirts made for easier identification; “If anyone owns a t-shirt company and wants to help us get some t-shirts, that would be great,” he said.
Ruiz said that anyone looking for an escort should call his phone number: (718) 744-7592 (don’t be surprised that the ringback is a Nas song) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So far the police have said that there are at least two suspects involved in eight sexual attacks and one rape since March. Again, here are the two police sketches of the suspects:
Update 1:37 p.m.: Jay Ruiz just updated us about the t-shirts; he says that St. Francis Xavier church in Brooklyn is donating 25 t-shirts to the bike patrol.
Go to Runnin’ Scared for more Voice news coverage.