National Night Out
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown toured neighborhoods throughout Queens last night to help highlight the 22nd annual National Night Out Against Crime. The special anti-crime event was observed across New York City with a full schedule of events ranging from crime prevention lectures to youth activities.
“National Night Out Against Crime was established nearly 23 years ago during the height of New York City’s violent street crime epidemic,” Brown recalled. “The night has served as a way for citizens to symbolically reclaim their streets. Now, as the crime rate continues to plummet, National Night Out remains an important reminder of the need to continue the vigilant fight to maintain public safety. During the evening the residents of Queens County had an opportunity to meet with police officers and law enforcement officials who protect their neighborhoods and who are largely responsible for the sharp reduction in violent crime and the significant improvement in the quality of life.”
Brown’s schedule included his attending events at the 100th, 102nd, 103rd, 107th, 109th and 112th Police Precincts.
The 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill, commanded by Deputy Inspector Paul Piekarski, included games for children, music and entertainment. The celebration took place in Forest Park at Union Turnpike and Park Lane South.
The 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, commanded by Deputy Inspector Michael A. Blake, presented exhibits by the Police Department Crime Prevention unit. At a 9 p.m. candlelight vigil the annual Police Officer Charles A. Davis Award was presented. The celebration took place at the Rufus King Park located at 89th Avenue and 153rd Street.
The 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows, commanded by Deputy Inspector Charles Talamo, presented exhibits by the Police Department Crime Prevention, Emergency Service, Highway and Bicycle units. A Child Identification Photo/Fingerprint program and an anti-crime candlelight block walk were part of the agenda. The celebration took place at the Electchester Shopping Center parking lot at Parsons Boulevard and Jewel Avenue. Community Service awards were presented to Police Sergeant Penny Walthall and Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin.
The 109th Precinct in Flushing, Deputy Inspector Thomas Cea, commanding officer, was the host precinct for Patrol Borough Queens North. Brown was scheduled to be joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at 109th Precinct festivities.
Events at the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills, commanded by Deputy Inspector John Philbin, included arts and crafts presentations, music, free food, a raffle with prizes and various activities for children. The celebration took place at McDonald Park at Yellowstone and Queens Boulevards.
Festivities at the 114th Precinct National Night Out celebrations in Astoria Park between the Hell Gate and Triborough Bridges began at 5 p.m. and ran until 8 p.m. Events included a child identification program that featured fingerprinting and a 911 simulator so parents could see how efforts to recover lost children get underway, bicycle registration, motorcycle safety demonstrations, information provided by a number of community facilities and organizations including Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens and the 114th Civilian Observation Patrol, and activities for children, including face painting and games. A highlight of the occasion was a “dunk tank” with Community Affairs Officer Bill Nilsson serving as the target.
National Night Out Against Crime, “America's Night Out Against Crime,” was introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a nonprofit, crime prevention organization which works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The program was the brainchild of NATW Executive Director Matt A. Peskin. That first year, 400 communities in 23 states participated in National Night Out. Nationwide, 2.5 million Americans took part in 1984. The event has since grown to involve more than 34 million people in more than 10,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. While traditional “lights on” and front porch vigils remain a part of National Night Out Against Crime, activities have expanded considerably over the years to include block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from police, festivals, neighborhood walks, safety fairs, contests, rallies and meetings.