Residents from across the borough are about to mark the longest-running war in the nation’s history.
From Greenpoint to Carroll Gardens, Brooklynites will be taking back the night against muggers, drug dealers and burglars with their local foot soldiers — the neighborhood beat cops — as they participate in their local National Night Out Against Crime celebration, an annual event that turns the ripe old age of 25 this year.
Since the first National Night Out was established back in the early 1980s, thousands of residents have gathered to heighten crime and drug awareness, learn about local anti-crime programs and strengthen both neighborhood spirit and the bonds between the community and their NYPD protectors.
In essence, by partying the night away on Tuesday, August 5, residents will be putting criminals on notice: the community is organized and fighting back.
At each National Night Out event, which is usually organized by your local precinct’s community council, you can find a treasure trove of crime-fighting strategies that will reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
New crime-fighting tactics include enrolling in the NYPD’s cell phone registry, where one’s cell phone is marked with a special code. If the phone is ever stolen and found again, it can be returned to you through the code number, which is left discreetly on the inside of the phone’s battery, officials said.
But while crime prevention is still key, many commands celebrate National Night Out with a second mission in mind: the building of positive relationships between cops and the community.
“[National Night Out Against Crime] began in a time when we had to fight for each and every street,” said Chief Joseph Fox, the commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. “While we don’t have to fight for our streets any longer, I still think that this event sends an important message — it demonstrates the partnership between the members of the community and the officers from our local precincts, something we work on every day.”
Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes, who visits a number of National Night Out Against Crime celebrations each year, said that National Night Out Against Crime should be changed to “Cops and Community Night.”
“It’s crystal clear that the foundation of all of the changes we have celebrated over the years is because of the great relationship we have fostered between the police and community leaders,” said Hynes.
“The partnership between the cops and the community is real and it wasn’t always like that 25 years ago,” he said. “There was more of an armed camp mentality in many communities and that’s changed.”
This year’s Night Out Against Crime celebrations include:
The 76th Precinct (Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Gowanus): Kids can expect to find plenty of goodies at Coffey Park, Richard Street between Pioneer and Verona streets from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The fun-filled day will be capped with a rousing community softball game, organizers said. Arts and crafts, a community resource fair and a “picnic-like atmosphere” will also be found.
The 78th Precinct (Park Slope): The neighborhood’s annual anti-crime parade will kick off at Fifth Avenue and St. John’s Place and wend its way through the streets of Park Slope to Grand Army Plaza, where presentations, performances and public safety instructions will be held. The march begins at 6 p.m.
The 84th Precinct (Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO): 84th Precinct Council President Leslie Lewis will once again be holding his National Night Out Celebration smack dab in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall at Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza at the corner of Cadman Plaza West and Montague Street. The celebration begins at 6 p.m. A petting zoo and pony rides will keep the kids busy while adults chow down on the heaping helpings from the community cook out, organizers said.
The 88th Precinct (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill): Get ready for a day of fun in the sun at Fort Greene Park along DeKalb Avenue off of Washington Square Park. From noon on, one can find sporting contests, games and an FDNY smokehouse, as well as a rock climbing wall, members of the 88th Precinct Community Council said.
The 90th Precinct (Williamsburg): A free-wheeling DJ will keep everyone moving at Sternberg Park, Montrose Avenue between Lorimer and Leonard streets. Other attractions will include games, a hearty barbecue and oodles of crime prevention information. The fun lasts from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., organizers said.
The 94th Precinct (Greenpoint): Neighborhood crime fighters will be gathering on Meserole Avenue between Manhattan Avenue and Lorimer Street for a special block party in front of the stationhouse. After a special opening ceremony, visitors will be able to see just how different NYPD units handle their various assignments. Organizers also promise plenty of food and music.
©2008 Community News Group
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