Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Year Later Rocket Still Pedaling Women Home Safely

Brooklyn Bike Patrol Celebrates One Year of Helping Women Get Home Safely
Believe it or not, one year has already passed since Jay “Rocket” Ruiz was first inspired to start his grassroots security organization, “Brooklyn Bike Patrol.” Back in September 2011 Brooklyn women were fearful after at least 20 sexual assaults had been perpetrated during a six-month period beginning in March from Bay Ridge to Park Slope. Finally Ruiz felt he needed to act to protect women and help them arrive home safely, so he hopped on his bicycle and rode to the subway station at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street and held up a sign that said: “Brooklyn Bike Patrol” with his name, phone number and e-mail address.

After a short time Ruiz had a crew of 11 volunteers escorting women from 11 subway stations so they could arrive home in peace.

One year later “Brooklyn Bike Patrol” still has only 11 volunteers, but they manage to cover 50 subway stations in 16 Brooklyn neighborhoods including Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, Sunset Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Carroll Gardens, Borough Park, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bushwick and Williamsburg.

To celebrate this milestone Ruiz and his crew plan on riding down Fifth Avenue in Park Slope handing out flyers offering their free service. “Brooklyn Bike Patrol” would like to acquire cameras for each of the volunteers to wear on their helmets. Ruiz believes this piece of equipment will make the escort even safer. Each camera costs $269, but he says when traveling through some of the rougher neighborhoods having a camera recording every walk will make it safer just in case something happens along the way.

“We are grateful for all the love and communities we cover,” he said, explaining that BBP now has 117 clients. “I wanted to do this for one year, but now there are so many people calling us and we need to keep doing it. People still need us, so I want to see where we are at in five years.”

Ruiz said he feels like he is “on top of the world” to be able to celebrate one year protecting women.
But, he is humble:

“We are not the heroes, the heroes are the women who call us and trust us to walk them home,” Ruiz said.