The ever-growing Jewish community has reached another milestone with the opening of the Valley Mishmar, a neighborhood watch that can be called out to help with an unusual, unsafe or unpredictable situation. For any crime that has occurred, looks like it’s about to happen or has happened 911 should be called. For any non-emergency situation, call LAPD dispatch at 1-877-ASK-LAPD. After this, the Mishmar can be contacted and they can help substantially.
One of the boy’s yeshivas reported a case last year of a man who was standing at car pick-up and would not leave. The year before there was a case of an old lady who was screaming epithets at drivers in the orthodox community of Detroit Ave in LA. This is when the Mishmar springs in to action and quickly reaches the scene where they help to keep the peace, until the LAPD arrives.
Originally, it was because of hold-ups, home robberies and property theft that the Mishmar was called. Time can pass before 911 arrive, especially when it is a non-emergency situation and police time is limited so they have to prioritize. The Mishmar are pleased to fill that window of time with their visit. These volunteers are not trained to carry firearms but they are ready to solve conflict and document the events that transpire.
Chaim Friedman is one of the Valley Mishmar founders and he explained that the number of emergency phone calls received are not such a burden because our communities have become safer over the years, however, he was clear that, “This still means we could avoid certain incidents of petty theft if we were to be more responsible at keeping valuables out of our cars, keeping our doors locked and turning on an outside light at nighttime. Until we face the reality of a break-in, we don’t believe it ever will ever happen to us.”
The Mishmar crew are focused on helping with two kinds of crime; anti-Semitic and property. Fortunately, the amount of anti-Semitic crime is small but we live in a city where the number of legal and illegal firearms is extremely high and this leads to property crime.
The Valley Mishmar will smooth the flow of information at the scene of the incident to the LAPD, who are overwhelmed with cases and appreciate the help. Additionally, the group offer a service where they will arrange for an escort for someone walking home alone at night.
This is no crime busting group, no vigilante brigade. The 20 Mishmar volunteers are mostly men over the age of 20 who are pleased to respond to calls at a moment’s notice. Once on duty, they communicate with each other by text and work to get the best description of the event so they are able to liaise professionally with the police when they arrive.
Traditionally, a mishmar is a place of confinement be it a prison or a guard. It is also the name for a place where we place guards to watch or observe the happenings in our community.