Well it's about time someone stood up to crime here, good for them.
Residents carrying weapons on patrols (CT)Residents carrying weapons on patrols
William Kaempffer, Register Staff
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-NEW HAVEN — Tired of what they describe as lip service and hollow promises from the city and Police Department, members of an Orthodox Jewish community and other activists from the Edgewood neighborhood started armed patrols of their own streets Monday night.
"We're not vigilantes. We're not going out looking for trouble. We have to protect what's ours," said Gary Lynes, of Irving Street, who has a pistol permit and will carry his weapon on patrol. So will Rabbi Dov Greer and his brother, Eliezer, both sons of prominent developer Rabbi Daniel Greer.
"It's a very reluctant step. It's an unfortunate step, but we have appealed and appealed and appealed. We have met and met and met," said Rabbi Daniel Greer, who runs the Gan School at 765 Elm St. and nonprofits that in the last two decades have rehabilitated about 40 houses in the area.
It was clear Monday the armed citizen patrols were designed to send an unmistakable message of frustration to City Hall and the mayor. The Greers have appealed to police Chief Francisco Ortiz Jr. for years for increased patrols and walking beats. Every mugging or robbery, Eliezer Greer said, generates a few calls from the city and a cosmetic, and short-lived, increase in police presence.
"Meeting after meeting with the chief and the mayor have accomplished nothing," said Hank Campbell, a Democratic co-chairman for the 24th Ward. "So if you have to bear arms, the Constitution gives us this right. We have to protect what's ours."
Daniel Greer called for Ortiz's ouster, saying he is the Donald Rumsfeld of Mayor John DeStefano Jr.'s administration.
"It's clear the man is not competent," said the elder Greer. "He's a very sweet guy. ... I'd like to have drinks with him. He just can't run a department."
It was an attack Sunday on Dov Greer outside his Elm Street home that triggered the call to action. The younger man wasn't seriously hurt, but the episode appeared to be the tipping point for the Greers.
Through his spokeswoman, DeStefano expressed regret over the attack and said the incident prompted the department to review deployments for that neighborhood. Cops were walking beats at the time of Sunday's incident and Dov Greer chatted with two beat officers not long before the attack, the mayor's office said. The Greers' solution, however, could have disastrous consequences.
"Individuals who carry weapons with the intent of enforcing what they find to be appropriate or inappropriate behavior in their neighborhood is a recipe for disaster," DeStefano said.
He also reaffirmed his "complete confidence" in Ortiz, his command staff, the district manager for the neighborhood and the department as a whole.