Neighbors band together to patrol streets to prevent muggings.
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
B " H
n response to a rash of robberies
in his Oak Park neighborhood,
Dmitry Reznikov has organized '
his own volunteer protection
"I started the Neighborhood Shmira
program due to the recent muggings
on Jews in the Oak Park and
Southfield area," Reznikov said of his
The program, named for the
Hebrew word shmira meaning "watch"
or "guard," recruits volunteers who
patrol their neighborhoods in the
north and south Oak Park areas and
They are on the lookout for any-
thing appearing dangerous or suspi-
"In the past three weeks, there have
been two confirmed robberies in the
south Oak Park area and one in
Southfield — all targeting religious
Jews walking alone or in couples,"
"The incidents appear to be random
and not anti-Semitic," said Officer
Kevin Edmonds, community services
coordinator of Oak Park Public Safety.
After he spoke with each victim, he
said he discovered the perpetrator usu-
ally spoke from a distance of 10 or
more feet, warning them to put their
wallets or purses on the ground and
Edmonds said a suspect was appre-
hended Nov. 18 by-Southfield police
officers after a street robbery. He con-
fessed to the other incidents, Edmonds
said. Investigation continues.
Even though a suspect was appre-
hended, Reznikov says there's still a
need for the project. "If it happened
once, it can happen again because we
see people are vulnerable," he said.
Volunteers are urged to sign up for
one or more 30-minute period each
week, working in one of three zones
between 6 p.m. and midnight. Areas
will be patrolled each night, except for
Shabbat. Reznikov estimates he needs
about 200 volunteers.
Volunteers will carry a cell phone
and will call police if they see suspi-
cious activity. Beyond the phone call
and possibly a honk of their car horn
For Neighborhood Shmira
Serve your community for 30 minutes a week!
for details please call Drnitry Reznikov
police officers for advice on running
the Shmira project and to stay updated
on crime statistics and suspect descrip-
tions. He is also in touch with staff at
the Southfield Police Department.
Reznikov has discussed the project
with area rabbis, hoping to utilize area
Orthodox synagogues as a site for
awareness of the crimes as well as to
recruit patrollers. He also produced
and hung a flyer in many of the syna-
gogue hallways, including Beis
HaKnesses HaGra in Oak Park, where
he is a member.
Rabbi Leo Goldman of Shaarey
Shomayim in Oak Park is waiting for
the arrival of a flyer that he says he will
hang "with pleasure" in his synagogue.
While he hopes his members will
become a part of the patrol force, he
also sees the flyer as a way to make
them aware of the robberies.
"We have to call attention to people
who are out walking," he said. "It is
very important since many people in
the community are out walking at
He is also pleased that Reznikov is
working in conjunction with the police
department, knowing they are available
on Shabbat, when Shmira patrollers are
The initiative to establish the project
was based on Reznikov's personal and
"My life interest is in protective serv-
ices," said Reznikov, founder and CEO
of Reznet Consulting LLC in Oak
Park, a computer network security
His business provides computer net-
work setup and maintenance and Web
hosting, with a secondary service offer-
ing electronic, computer and physical
protective surveillance and wireless
security camera networks.
"I am convinced that as Jews we can
be more aware of our surroundings
and respond to them appropriately,
instead of taking a complacent attitude
of the proverbial three monkeys that
see-hear-say no evil," he said.
Top: Neighborhood Shmira recruiting flyer. Above: Dmitry Reznikov
to scare away the perpetrator, the
patroller is not expected to do more.
Neighborhood Shmira is a sub-proj-
ect of the Neighborhood Watch of
Oak Park, which Reznikov also coordi-
nates. He is working with Oak Park
To volunteer to patrol for
Neighborhood Shmira, call (248)
968-5700 or send an e-mail to: