Updated 08/16/2011 09:27 PM
Safe Stop Program Launches In Brooklyn
After young Leiby Kletzky was allegedly abducted and brutally killed in Brooklyn last month, some area businesses are joining forces with the district attorney's office for the "Safe Stop" program, which aims to help children and senior citizens in need. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Police officials say Leiby Kletzy was lost in Borough Park last month when he asked a stranger for help. That stranger, Levi Aron, has now been charged with kidnapping and murdering the 8-year-old boy.
Brooklyn community leaders want to try to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.
"It is our responsibility as society, as community, to take all the measures, all the steps necessary to protect the most vulnerable,” said Brooklyn City Councilman Mathieu Eugene.
With that in mind, the Brooklyn district attorney's office and several business improvement districts have started what's called “Safe Stop.”
Neighborhood shops that join the program agree to help children and seniors who are lost or in danger.
"I would hope in years to come we will be able to validate this kind of program, where we can point to real examples of children who have been saved or seniors who have been saved,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
More than 70 stores in Sunset Park, Park Slope and Williamsburg have agreed to take part. If anyone sees the Safe Stop decal on a store, they should know workers are willing to help by calling the person's family or the police, even if the situation is violent.
"We do have security cameras in here, which is a good thing, because if something does happen we have them on surveillance," said John Miniaci of Johnny’s Pizza.
With tears in her eyes, Blanca Toledo said she hopes the program gets picked up citywide.
Her nephew Patrick Alford went missing on Staten Island in January of last year and hasn't been seen since.
"Our kids can be missing any time. We have to train our kids to be careful and the senior citizens. I think it’s great, something like this," said Toledo.
Some may wonder how the Safe Stop merchants are screened and if all of the stores in the program are really safe for children.
"The screening we are doing is we’re only asking those businesses that we have seen for many, many years,” said Renee Giordano of the Sunset Park BID.
"The few so-called ‘bad people’ are fairly well known. They would be the last people who would want to join the program, I think,” said Hynes.
For more info on Safe Stop, reach out to the Brooklyn district attorney's office.