In the spirit of today’s National Night Out Against Crime festivities, Brownsville’s Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) joined Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes in announcing the addition of 35 new businesses to the roster of Safe Stops in Brooklyn.
The recently revamped Safe Stop program is a reboot of Brooklyn’s previous Safe Haven program, and aims to nurture stronger communities by designating registered businesses as safe stops where residents can go in case they are lost, unsafe, or otherwise facing some sort of momentary emergency.
“We are always looking for ways to make Brooklyn safer. Sometimes people who need help don’t know where to turn,” said Hynes. “Now, if someone is lost, has a medical emergency, or is a crime victim, they can go into any of these Safe Stop locations where merchants… will be trained to know where to refer people and how to help them.”
According to Daniel Murphy, executive director of the Pitkin Avenue BID, being part of the Safe Stop initiative is a way “for our merchants to take an active role in public safety. They feel more empowered, their customers and neighborhood residents respond in a positive way, and so it is a grassroots means of public safety.”
For many of the 35 participating businesses along the 14-block commercial stretch of Pitkin Avenue in the BID, a lot of the core tenets of Safe Stop were “already in place informally [everywhere] where people and shop-owners get to know one another,” added Murphy, who has also served as chairperson of the Public Safety Committee at Community Board 7 in Sunset Park, whose Fifth Avenue BID adopted the Safe Stop program back in 2011.
“The idea that merchants are part of the fabric of the community” has been true for a long time,” he said. “Children get lost, fights break out, and there are sometimes unsafe conditions, so basically, the way of dealing with that is to open their stores to people.”
Participating merchants sport a Safe Stop sticker decal on their windows and/or doors.
Safe Stop now has 253 participating merchants throughout Brooklyn since relaunching in August 2011. Other neighborhoods include Sunset Park, Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Bay Ridge. All merchants were screened by being hand-picked by their local business improvement districts as responsible, beloved and long-time contributors to their communities.
Outreach will be conducted through participating BIDs as well as through education efforts via the DA’s Legal Lives program, which brings assistant district attorneys into classrooms to talk about the law and its role in their everyday lives.
For more information about Safe Stop, including a list of participating businesses, contact the Brooklyn DA’s office at 718-250-2247. For an application, contact your local BID.