Rise in subway attacks sparks movement to provide safe escorts in NYC

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Rise in crime sparks movement to provide safe escorts to subways
Troubled by the alarming spike in crime, activist Peter Kerre set up an Instagram page called SafeWalks NYC, designed to provide safe escorts to and from subway stations.

BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A string of subway crimes in New York City has sparked a new kind of guardian angels movement in Brooklyn.

The Morgan Avenue subway station in Bushwick is surrounded by construction and dimly lit streets.

It's the perfect place for an ambush.

Indeed, almost 10 women have been attacked here recently.

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A woman was injured after she was shoved onto subway tracks as a train was pulling into the station Tuesday night.

"Seeing the pictures of the ladies assaulted, honestly I was angry," SafeWalks NYC Founder Peter Kerre said.

Troubled by the alarming spike in crime, activist Kerre set up an Instagram page called SafeWalks NYC.

The goal is to provide escorts to and from the station. All the passenger has to do is ask.

Kerre launched the volunteer site on January 3.

"The goal is just be a presence," Kerre said. "We're here, we can walk you to the station, to an area where you feel safe."

SafeWalks NYC has expanded so much, they say they now have enough volunteers to cover all the subway stations in Bushwick and bus stops -- whatever the traveler needs.

Almost 200 volunteers have stepped forward. Interestingly, most of them are women. Sisters helping sisters, like 32-year-old Jen Goma.

RELATED | Man suspected in string of attacks on women in Brooklyn arrested

A man suspected in a string of assaults against women in Brooklyn is now under arrest and facing multiple charges.

"I'm both. I'm the person who can protect someone and who also needs it," Goma said.

"It's a good neighborly thing to do, to make sure your fellow neighbors do feel safe," voltunteer Kevin Estevez said.

"It's inspiring to see so many people step up and want to be there for fellow community members, very inspiring," Kerre said.

Flash forward, Kerre hopes to offer self-defense classes for the volunteers, and he's hoping this model will be copied in other neighborhoods.

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