Nascent ‘Chinatown Block Watch’ Patrols and Protects

Posted on: May 4th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

There are some new guardian angels in town, organized to protect the streets of Chinatown.

Chinatown Block Watch, as it’s called, takes a page from the grassroots Guardian Angels – neighbors looking out for neighbors.

The streets of Chinatown and the Lower East Side are pretty quiet these days, with few pedestrians even during daytime, except early, when people venture out for necessities. The less populated area has fomented an uptick of harassment against Asians – blamed for the novel coronavirus – and muggings are up around the East Broadway subway station.

The group is non-confrontational, offering a visual deterrent to would-be criminals. There are also “patrols” along the blocks to check in with merchants to see if they’ve been harassed which gives them ease of mind that someone is out there watching out for them.

“The idea was to organize a block watch where I would equip members with a highly visible safety vest as a visual deterrent and to give shoppers and those venturing out some measure of security,” prolific activist and Block Watch founder Karlin Chan tells us.

“The streets are very quiet after 4pm and we do not want the criminal element to think they can do as please,” Chan said.

Photo: Karlin Chan

So far, the Chinatown Block Watch boasts roughly a dozen members who live in and around the neighborhood.

The crew is looking for volunteers – open to men and women – so email here, if interested.

“We’re all in this together and need to keep our neighborhoods safe; you never know if you will be the next victim,” Chan concluded.

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