“SafeWalks NYC” began in Bushwick, Brooklyn in January 2021, and offers accompanied walks to or from home for those who feel unsafe.
Attacks sadly increased in the city last year, especially against AAPI women and other women of color, pushing the group to work harder to be a viable option for people who long to feel more secure getting home.
The group was started by Brooklyn resident Peter Kerre after he saw news of the attacks, mostly on women walking alone from the subway, and knew he had to do something to change that.
“I saw her picture and her face was bruised and I was so mad. I have a sister in the neighborhood too and she works at night. This hits close to home,” Kerre told Pix11.
In just two weeks’ time, they had grown their volunteer list to over 170 people from the community. Now, they have seen over 2,000 sign-ups of volunteers, with 200 regular members. You can see their volunteer vetting process below.
Since they began, Kerre told NBC News the volunteer team has assisted with over 1,000 walks.
To request a “SafeWalk,” New Yorkers just have to fill out their Google form here with at least 3 hours notice, and someone from a network of volunteers will meet you there to walk you home. If you have an urgent request, you can DM them on Instagram @safewalksnyc.
SafeWalks is currently serving all boroughs except Staten Island. They are working on creating an app, which you can donate to to ensure it eventually happens.
They are also looking into virtual engagement opportunities, like self-defense classes, personal safety tips/discussion panels, and other ways to bolster community building and engagement.
Kerre is also the founder of Street Riders NYC, a bicycle activism group.
Stay up-to-date on their Instagram page here or their website. You can also find info on how to volunteer on this page, or if you are unable and still want to support, you can donate to them via Venmo, CashApp, or GoFundMe.
For round-trip/public transit requests, they require 24 hours notice and prioritize emergencies.