After a string of attacks at a Brooklyn subway station this past winter, the community came together to help their neighbors get home safely.
“Safe Walks NYC” began in Bushwick, Brooklyn back in January, and offers accompanied walks to or from home for those who feel unsafe. To request a “SafeWalk,” New Yorkers just have to DM their Instagram account @safewalksnyc or fill out their Google form here with at least 40 minutes notice, and someone from a network of volunteers will meet you there to walk you 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.
And in just two weeks’ time, they grew their volunteer list to over 170 people from the community!
SafeWalks is currently serving Bushwick as well as Chinatown (which they began after the spike in xenophobic attacks on elderly Asian people), but are working on expanding into other boroughs and neighborhoods including Harlem and Queens. They have received so many messages from volunteers across the city, that they are in the process of organizing a system for across the city and even starting an app. You can also see their vetting process here:
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.
featured image source: Instagram / @safewalksnyc