Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn joins National Night Out in a big way

August 6, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sabrina Carter (center in glasses), the youth community programs coordinator, with kids from the Red Hook Youth Court during the 76th Precinct’s Night Out in Coffey Park. Photo by Rob Abruzzese.

Cops, citizens get together for hot dogs, music, prizes, and fun

Cops barbecuing hot dogs, kids getting free bicycle helmets, music fans enjoying concerts in parks and plazas, and lots of camaraderie between the police and the public. Brooklyn took part in National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday in a big way.

Police precincts all over the borough held Night Out events, welcoming community residents to get to know them in an informal, fun atmosphere. The 84th Precinct’s Night Out celebration took place in the plaza outside Borough Hall, where cops gave out free hot dogs and free bike helmets and residents enjoyed music and dance performances.

Grand Army Plaza was the setting for the 78th Precinct’s event. Residents enjoyed an antique car show, among other fun-filled happenings. Students from the Red Hook Youth Court were on hand to help out at the 76th Precinct’s Night Out in Coffey Park.

In Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct, Night Out was a party in Shore Road Park with a barbecue, a concert by the East Coast Band featuring Gordon Dukes from Kool and the Gang, rides and games for kids, and raffles. Around the perimeter of the ball field, dozens of governmental agencies and non-profit community groups set up information tables and representatives were distributing literature to local residents.

The 62nd Precinct in Bensonhurst hosted a block party for the neighborhood. The party, featuring a DJ, rides, games, and information tables, took take place on Bay 22nd Street between Bath and Benson avenues, right outside the precinct station house.

National Night Out was established by the non-profit organization National Association of Town Watch in 1984 in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice. The goal was to set up a way for communities and local police departments to join together on one symbolic night as a show of strength and unity against crime and drugs.

Over the years, however, as the crime rate dipped, National Night Out evolved into a celebration of the success of police-public cooperation in the fight against crime.

“It started off as just a call to turn your porch light on. It sent a signal to criminals that you weren’t going to tolerate crime,” said Assistant Chief Owen J. Monaghan, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. “Now it’s more of a celebration. But it still has a serious purpose. We need to work together to fight crime. We, in the police, can’t do it without help from you, the public,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle at the 68th Precinct event in Shore Road Park.

Monaghan, who is in charge of 13 precincts, made the rounds Tuesday, stopping at several Night Out events.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was out of town and was unable to tak part in Night Out, but he issued a statement on the importance of the event. “The National Night Out  Against Crime is a wonderful opportunity to promote public safety and partnership between communities and the police.  Whether it is a free BBQ, community health services, or security planning discussions, National Night Out is a great way to support and build one city, rising together—which we aspire to be,” the statement read.