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Brooklyn Bike Patrol Tries To Give Women Peace Of Mind Amid Sex Attacks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Women in Brooklyn will not be allowed to live in fear. After a months-long string of sex assaults, a group is going out on patrol to keep women safe.

You can't miss the flyers all over Brooklyn neighborhoods. Something else you can't miss are some heroes in neon-yellow shirts hoping to give women some protection and peace of mind.

"I can't even put into words how terrifying this is for a young woman walking alone at night," Windsor Park's Stefana Soitos told CBS 2's Dave Carlin on Monday night.

Soitos was relying on the Brooklyn Bike Patrol for company walking the three dark blocks from her home to the gym and back. At her side was Jay Ruiz, volunteering to safely escort women to where they need to go. He told CBS 2 how the concept began.

"When I saw the video of the woman getting mugged in Park Slope and she was getting choked from behind and she was screaming to the top of her really affected me and the very next night I came out with a friend of mine, I was holding a sign with my phone number and my e-mail offering people escorts," Ruiz said.

The operation currently has 11 volunteers and all of them have registered with the 78th and 72nd Precinct station houses following extensive background checks.

"They know they cannot have a criminal record, because I tell them you cannot jeopardize what I'm doing here," Ruiz said.

For college educator Ellen Baxt, the nightly bus ride from work that used to end with a lonely, nerve-wracking walk to her house is not so scary now.

"I just feel safe in the neighborhood and I would feel really, really nervous walking home by myself," Baxt said.

"They are so appreciative that we're out here and we're walking them home," Ruiz said.

Many in the community, including Ruiz, said they will not rest until the sex crime suspects are apprehended.

What do you think of the Brooklyn Bike Patrol idea?  Share your thoughts in the comments section...

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