New York City bodega owners hold safety summit with the NYPD

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City bodega owners took their concerns over neighborhood violence straight to police Thursday night.

A new organization formed to voice the concerns of city bodega owners, the United Bodegas of America, held its first safety summit with the NYPD.

Dozens of bodega owners attended the meeting at Metropolitan College in the Bronx.

They say they want to prevent another tragedy like the one last June in which 15-year-old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz was dragged out of a Bronx bodega by alleged gang members and killed.

"The NYPD came with a lot of information that was very very helpful," said Fernando Mateo, spokesman for UBA. "But now the ball is in our court. Now we need to do and follow through with the recommendations that the NYPD put together."

The organization has been asking for panic buttons that link bodega owners directly to police, and for insider information regarding gang activity.

They also want to make sure bodegas are well-lit, with unobscured windows that allow passing patrol officers to look in.

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