Bronx Seniors Expected to Protect Themselves from Robbers With Whistles

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Seniors south of Bronx Park say they don't feel safe because of a recent rash of robberies. So the City is arming them with...whistles.

Yep, you read that right. Whistles.

Here's what's up: Robberies have swelled by 41 percent in the 48th Precinct, the Daily News notes. This includes West Farms and other Community Board 6 neighborhoods.

A bunch of seniors got together with community pols last week to figure out how to stay safe.

The "solution?"

CB 6 is calling for a Whistle Blower Safety Initiative, and has "armed" seniors with whistles.

"If you feel someone is going to bring you harm, this is an alert device," CB 6 District Manager Ivine Galarza told reporters. "You can just whistle and, definitely, the person will run."

Of course, some seniors say that increased police presence would help more than would whistles.

When a police van was on the street, one resident said, the streets were calm. When the van left, however, gunshots could be heard nightly and muggings became common.

Now, the Voice isn't trying to criticize the idea behind whistles per se -- people should have a way to alert others that they're in danger. In principle this sounds totally great.

But, there are obviously a few pragmatic problems with a whistle program. Galarza thinks that lowlifes will "definitely" flee if they hear a whistle, but that's not guaranteed. Like, at all. Also, who is to say that anyone would come to a whistleblower's defense?

Another thing? The type of whistle distributed by CB6 is very important. Some say that unless it's a fancy, newfangled whistle, the noisemaking part can jam, making it completely useless.

So yes. Whistles aren't a terrible idea, but they can't address broad safety problems in these communities and are polite placebos, at best. The Voice reached out the the New York Police Department to see why crime has increased there and what is being done to fight it. We'll update if we hear back.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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