By Doug Auer (New York Post)
May 26, 2012
An ultra-Orthodox group that discourages Jews from reporting sex crimes to cops without consulting a rabbi will run a state-funded, $1 million street-surveillance program aimed at catching child predators and other criminals in two predominantly Jewish Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Agudath Israel of America will oversee a program to install 150 surveillance cameras in Borough Park and Midwood over the next few months near schools, banks, synagogues and other sites.
The plan is aimed to protect kids like Leiby Kletzky, the Borough Park schoolboy who was abducted and slain after day camp last July.
Critics yesterday ripped the selection, saying the politically connected group has a long history of shielding the Jewish community from police.
"I don't understand the need to put a private group in charge of this, especially a group with such a questionable history of keeping information from police," said Michael Lesher, a New Jersey lawyer and anti-sex-abuse activist.
Sources said Shomrin, a volunteer Jewish security patrol, is in line to have access to the security footage. But Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), who secured the $1 million grant through state Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, vowed that the NYPD would have "full access" to the footage, and that it would not be screened by another party before reaching cops.
"We encourage any witness or victim, regardless of religious affiliation, to report crime to the police and to preserve any evidence, intact, that might help identify the perpetrator," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
Time to hit the exercise yard
Accused child killer Levi Aron looked like a disgusting blob at a video court hearing yesterday, as he appeared to have put on some 50 pounds since he was nabbed last summer in the slaying of Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn.
The fat fiend's gut spilled over on the video from Rikers Island. "He's definitely not working out," said an onlooker. Aron weighed about 172 pounds when he was busted.