In the wake of a series of anti-Semitic incidents and threats, members of the Chicago Jewish community in the United States have hired a private security force.
According to DNAinfo, Jewish families in West Rogers Park have hired off-duty Chicago police officers to patrol the neighborhood on Shabbat and holidays when they are unable to drive and use their cell phones.
West Rogers Park resident David Kamish organized the patrols, collecting $25 a month from over 25 families to pay the off-duty copy.
Kamish said the project's budget is currently $800 a month, and all funds go to pay for the security service of the off-duty officers assigned to the Rogers Park Police District.
"The police officers are grossly underpaid and certainly under-appreciated," Kamish said. "And we just want to continue working with them and being appreciative of their efforts — whether it be off duty or on duty."
The need for extra security is certainly not exaggerated as the Chicago Jewish community has experienced in recent weeks both an armed robbery as well as threats to synagogues and other Jewish institutions.
A wave of graffiti vandalism with anti-Semitic messages appeared in the same neighborhood several months ago, as well.
A synagogue as well as the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center both received suspicious letters filled with baking soda and notes containing Arabic writing, as did three other Jewish organizations in the area.
Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating.