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Neighbor to Neighbor: Children alone at risk on SE Queens streets

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against children.

The media keeps us...

By Barbara Morris

All too often these days, we hear of children in trouble. Some of the so-called “fairy-tales” of old tried to warn children and parents alike

that there were, and will probably always be, evil afoot — including

against children.

The media keeps us abreast of the increased

activities of these people whose minds have been introduced to and

taken over by evil. They may be murderers, kidnappers, pedophiles, drug

or other crime “teachers,” or those guilty of neglect.

They are not

worthy, in my opinion, to be near any child.

A few years ago, when crime in our area was more intense, my Civilian Patrol partner and I were driving on Linden

Boulevard. It was somewhere around midnight. As we approached one of the all-night laundries we noticed a

very small child, not yet 2 years old, sitting on the curb with

his feet in the street. I got out of the car, spoke to the child,

took him by the hand and he toddled with me into the laundry. “Does this little boy belong to anyone in here?” I asked.

One woman, who was sitting toward the back, in front of an active,

sudsy machine, looked our way and said, “He’s mine.” She was very cool

about it, which made me very angry. My response was sharp, “What is the

matter with you, leaving this little fellow by himself so he could go out

of here onto the street? Terrible things could have happened to him.”

By then, with the eyes of everyone on her, she responded in like manner

to me.

“There is nothing wrong with me. You should learn to mind your

own business. I was right here all along. Nothing would have happened

to him. There are a lot of people in here. Someone would have seen

anyone trying to harm him and told me.”

As I looked for some reaction on the faces of the others there, one lady

rolled her eyes and shook her head, but most of the others turned their

heads back to their business.

As I was trying to decide what our next step should be, the little fellow had gone over to the person claiming him and threw his tiny arms around her legs. I left the store and told my partner what had happened. The police had been very

busy that night, and we hoped that after I left someone else

might have said a few more constructive words to her. I was counting on

the woman who shook her head, at least. We decided to move on.

I recalled that incident recently when I discovered a very young lady

standing at curbside on Merrick Boulevard and 223rd Street, watching the

heavy traffic speed by. Since there is no traffic signal there, I

asked if she was waiting for someone or was trying to cross the street.

She said someone who had taken her there had become angry about something,

started cursing and told her to go home by herself.

I asked her if she

wanted me to help her cross the street. She said, “Yes.” Once on

the other side, I asked her if she wanted me to walk her home. Again,

the answer was “Yes.”

Because it was already past our regular lunch hour, I had stopped at

Burger King on Springfield Boulevard and bought a couple of chicken sand

wiches and nice, cold chocolate shakes for my sister and me I wondered

how they would weather the long walk to her house, which

was in the opposite direction from ours.

We must have walked a mile, talking about school, animals and my volunteer

work with the police.

I, of course, had told her my name, and she had told

me hers. As I was looking at her, talking, all of a sudden she said, “Wait

— did you hear that?” A police officer hollered, “Hi, Barbara,” as the car

went by. I was sorry I hadn’t heard that because I always like to greet

my NYPD friends, but I was grateful to that officer for calling out because

that put a great big grin on my little friend’s face.

We walked further still, well off my usual route, and she stopped suddenly. “What’s the matter?” I asked her.

She hesitantly answered, “I’m

almost home now. My house is only about a block away. Please don’t

go with me any further. My mother will be very, very mad at me because I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”

She agreed to tell her mother about how she had been left alone. I watched until she waved and turned into the path of her home. She is a sweet little girl, too young and too sweet to be left alone in an unpredictable world.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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