Group escorts women home from subway

In the wake of recent sexual assaults, many women in Brooklyn can now rely on an escort service. Although they are not directly involved with the NYC Police Department, the 12 civilian volunteers offered their services for free starting in September.

“Seeing the video where a woman was being attacked in Park Slope really changed my life. I felt that I had to do something,” said Jay Ruiz, who is from Brooklyn and of Puerto Rican descent.

Ruiz’s goal is to make sure that women don’t walk home alone at night and get sexually assaulted, as has happened in nights past.

Ruiz made flyers that he posted in various locations throughout Brooklyn and distributed at 20 train stations. The flyer has his telephone number on it, so that women who are afraid of walking home alone can call him and ask him to accompany them.

“We do it every day, from Sunday to Thursday between 8 p.m. and midnight, and on Fridays and Saturdays between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. We just want women to feel safe when they are walking home,” Ruiz said while accompanying Erin Posanti, who has become a regular client, to her home.

Ruiz indicated that the clients don’t pay him for the service and he recommended that other men get involved to protect women in the community.

“When I walk somebody like Erin home and she gives me a big smile full of gratitude, that’s my reward. I don’t need any other. I think it’s the best thing I could receive,” said Ruiz, who is known in the neighborhood because he always walks around wearing a bright yellow T-shirt that reads “Brooklyn Bike Patrol,” a black hat with the large letters “BBP” and his bicycle.

Posanti lived in Park Slope for four years, and felt very frightened after the series of sexual assaults on women in the area. “I started to look for ways to feel safe and found Ruiz’s service on Facebook. Although I try to return home early, sometimes I get back late and then I call them,” added the young woman, who has passed the information on to her acquaintances and friends, and recommends that they call the escort service to prevent other attacks.

According to Ruiz, who works as a dispatcher for a courier company during the day, not every night is the same. On the weekends they receive between 10 and 15 calls a night. During the week, they receive between 7 and 10 calls a night.

“But when we receive a higher number of calls, it’s because there has been a new attack, and it shouldn’t be like that. If somebody is scared to walk home alone when they get off the train and they want someone to accompany them, we are here for those people,” added Ruiz, who has had positive experiences so far since starting the escort service.

The escort group has created a new Facebook page called Brooklyn BIKE Patrol, which displays photos of the volunteers.

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