When Hurricane Sandy, later termed Superstorm Sandy, struck the East Coast last month, vast sections of New York were devastated. Entire neighborhoods were hit and power lines were brought down.
While the NYPD sent out officers to patrol parts of the city and assist with the needy during the emergency, they still expected a deluge of looters, muggers and other criminals to take advantage of the situation.
However, according to sources who made a statement to the New York Post
this week, the New York Police Department has credited Occupy Wall Street for making the city safer in the days following the disaster.
A police source said, “This crisis allowed us all to remove the politics and differences we had to do our job, and come to the aid of the people.”
“We all rose to the occasion,” the source added.
Despite desperate conditions in Brooklyn's Red Hook housing development and residences nearby, there was virtually no crime - and no storm-related deaths. The NYPD credit “an unlikely coalition that included the NYPD, Occupy Wall Street activists and local nonprofits working together” to keep storm victims safe after the Frankenstorm passed through.
26-year-old Kirby Desmaris, a volunteer coordinator for the Red Hook Coalition
, told the paper, "It was intense, it was working, and it was awesome. There was a shift in the energy in the community."
The coalition, which is comprised of Red Hook residents, business owners, community groups and Occupy Sandy volunteers, was awarded $100,000 by the Brooklyn Community Foundation last week.
"There's a huge need," Desmarais said. "Right now, at this given second, there's projects that we're working on at 120 locations that are getting volunteers and workers every single weekend."
According to the New York Daily News
, photos of the NYPD working with Occupy Sandy volunteers were "jarring," but they did suggest the group "has found its stride in service."
Also Digital Journal has reported on the excellent work of the Occupy Sandy
movement in the area, as members were recognized for their volunteer efforts after they provided assistance to federal FEMA workers dispatched to help with Sandy clean-up.
Normally there is no real working relationship between activists and law enforcement. Since the early days of Occupy Wall Street, in September 2011, there have been many incidents between the NYPD and the Occupy movement members including pepper-spraying and arrests, particularly a demonstration in October where roughly 700 activists were kettled and arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge.
However, difficult times can change relationships.
Red Hook resident Patricia Ramirez told the Post, "It's sad that it takes something horrendous to bring us together. Maybe Sandy stirred up the goodness in people."