Southern Brooklyn

Police outreach in neighborhoods stronger via National Night Out Against Crime

August 4, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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After more than a year without live public events, local police precincts celebrated their community outreach with the return of National Night Out Against Crime on Aug. 3. 

The annual event is designed to take a stand against crime by celebrating with a night of music, games, rides and information, with Brooklyn precincts taking a leading role in outreach.

“It was great to see our community come out and partake in many activities with cops,” said Officer Gerber Fernandez of the 72nd Precinct. “We had a basketball game with our youth from the community. We had many community leaders come out and it was all to build a stronger bond between the NYPD and community.”

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The 72nd Precinct’s event took place at the soccer field in Sunset Park and brought members of the community together for a number of activities that embraced the neighborhood’s diversity.

David Estrada, executive director of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, said this year’s event was better than ever.

“National Night Out is a lot of fun but it’s also a resource fair where groups like our chapter of the New York City Community Emergency Response Team and local elected officials were giving out information,” Estrada said.

The Sunset Park BID, which was one of the sponsors, gave away 250 “Shop Local” bags, many filled with masks and hand sanitizer.

Tacos Bronco restaurant supplied horchata and watermelon juice and the NYPD’s own crew fired up a big grill and gave away hot dogs and burgers. Other groups gave out food boxes, T-shirts, snack bags and PPE.

“The strongest impression I get from National Night Out is that it’s one event where the whole precinct can come together and seniors have as much fun as families with young children,” Estrada said. “You’re as likely to see a small child in a jaguar costume cracking a whip for a traditional Mexican dance troupe as acrobatic Chinese lion dancers making their creatures gobble up lettuce from the end of a long pole held by the 72nd Precinct’s Capt. Ernesto Castro.”

The 68th Precinct usually holds its event in Shore Road Park at 79th Street but opted for a smaller scale gathering outside the stationhouse at 333 65th St.

It still provided music, ices, giveaways, crime prevention intervention, and an appearance by mascot Scruff McGruff. It was sponsored by Maimonides Medical Center and Uncle Louie G’s Ices.

“What a wonderful evening at this year’s National Night Out,” the Precinct tweeted. “Thank you to everyone who came out and participated!”

The 62nd Precinct, which covers Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Gravesend, also held the event with similar fanfare outside its stationhouse at 1925 Bath Ave.

Elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblymember William Colton and State Senator Andrew Gounardes, were in attendance.

“A heartfelt thank you to all that attended the 62 Precinct National Night Out Against Crime,” tweeted the precinct. “Together, we all work in making our community a safer place. Can’t wait to see everyone again next year!”

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