DA unveils Kletzky-inspired Safe Stop program

August 16, 2011 2:14:42 PM PDT
It's been a little more than a month since 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was killed after getting lost just a mile away from his home in Brooklyn.

Now, a new effort is underway to help children find a safe haven when they're lost.

New parent Evelyn Ramos has a renewed sense of comfort because of the initiative

The program features stickers posted in the windows of businesses throughout Sunset Park - businesses that provide a 'Safe Stop' for young children who are lost, need help or have an emergency.

"A lot more comforting than having my son walking around and not have a place to go," Evelyn Ramos said.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes says the new program follows the tragic death of Leiby Kletzky - the young Borough Park boy abducted and killed when he asked a stranger for directions.

"I would hope that having these Safe Stop programs all over Brooklyn will save children," Hynes said.

Hynes says the success of the program depends on the number of Brooklyn merchants willing to participate. Forty-five store owners in Sunset Park have already signed up.

"As soon as we asked them, we didn't have a single person say no. Everybody thought it was a no-brainer. A win-win for everybody," Renee Giordano, of Sunset Park B.I.D., said.

The Safe Stop program begins with business owners and employees undergoing a background check. Those who pass will display a Safe Spot decal in the storefront window.

"We'll call, and while they're here, they're also going to feel safe, that they're in a safe place," store owner Yossi Itzkowtiz said.

"In this day and age, there is no safe way 100 percent to protect our children," parent Hasiba Rashid said. "We need to take any initiative, any step to protect them."