Every year, for the past 39 years, communities across America come together on the first Tuesday in August and celebrate what is now known as National Night Out Against Crime. According to an NYPD press release, “National Night Out was designed to heighten crime- and drug-prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit, enhance police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals letting them know that the communities are organized and are fighting back.”
In Brooklyn, Clergy and Community Councils attached to local police precincts hosted a variety of Night Out events that brought the police and the community together in positive ways. They gathered, some as early as noon, in parks and playgrounds, where they shared conversation, great food, lively music and fun, carefree dancing.
At Canarsie Park, residents from the 69th Precinct turned out in droves to celebrate and enjoy a much-needed respite from the relentless acts of gun violence and other crimes that have plagued many communities. Surrounded by scores of NYPD brass of every rank, children rode their bikes and scooters, swung hula hoops and enjoyed sno-cones and ices. A young man named Boyeston Taylor even brought his pets – Alex, a cockatiel perched quietly on his head, and two baby tortoises, George and Shelly, that he allowed to crawl around, much to the delight of the children.
Reverend Dawn Baxter from the 69th Precinct Clergy Council prayed and asked God to “cover this event as we commit it into Thy hands.” Captain Khandakar Abdullah, Commanding Officer of the 69th Precinct, then greeted everyone. “Let’s laugh, celebrate, eat and have a good time together. It’s such a good thing to have people supportive of what we do,” he said, looking with pride at the smiling crowd gathered around him. “Canarsie brings out the best in all of us.”
Some features of Night Out were the Law Enforcement Young Explorer Booth where youths could sign up for the Explorer Program. A similar NYPD booth was set up for adults interested in the Auxiliary Police Program. Representatives from District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office also gave out crime prevention information and special treats to the children. Several civic organizations such as CAMBA, Millennium Development and East Flatbush Village, Inc. also distributed anti-gun-violence literature
The evening’s festivities also included an Awards Ceremony with the first Citation presented to Captain Abdullah by a representative from the Office of Mayor Eric Adams. NCO Viviana Segovia was presented with two Citations, one from Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s office, the other from her own Commanding Officer, Captain Abdullah, who also conferred the same honor on civilian, Maria Garrett, a community activist and President of the Fresh Creek Civic Association. The 69th Precinct Community Council, which was largely responsible for organizing the Night Out, received a Citation from the office of State Senator Roxanne Persaud.
Congressman Hakeem Jefferies, Assemblywomen Jaime Williams and Monique Waterman-Chandler, Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse, District Manager Sue Ann Partnow and My Time Inc.’s Lucina Clarke attended the event and addressed the gathering briefly, as did a representative from Councilwoman Farah Louis’ office.