After recent subway assaults, volunteers offer to walk residents to safety

Peter Kerre has been living in Bushwick, Brooklyn, for seven years. He's proud of the neighborhood and feels obligated to protect it.

"I just jumped on my bike and rode out here and said you know what I'm going to be a presence, at least a presence, a deterring presence," he said.

After hearing about a recent slew of attacks on women at the Morgan Avenue subway station, Peter started SafeWalks NYC. It's an initiative to escort women from nearby subway stations to their homes. Already, about 200 volunteer escorts have signed up to help.

"What's really inspiring is seeing how many people have come forward offering to help," Peter said. "At this point, we're getting more requests by people offering to help than people asking for SafeWalks."

The group also comes together to just stand around at the stations and have a presence. Also, multiple volunteers will walk a woman home so that they'll have safety in numbers. Men are welcomed, too, but so far only women have sent requests. 

"When we meet someone for a SafeWalk, the first thing that we tell them is, 'Hey, we do not want to know where you live — just let us know how far we can escort you to an area where you feel safe and we will turn around.'"

You can request an escort from subway stations in the Bushwick area by sending a private message to @safewalksnyc on Instagram about an hour in advance if you can. Peter is also working now to create a mobile app to make the process even easier and more widespread.

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