45th Precinct Night Out draws large crowd

The residents of the 45th Precinct embraced National Night Out this year, coming out strong in Co-op City’s section five to celebrate community and police cooperation. The evening on Tuesday, August 3 was part of a nationwide effort to bring together the community and its police to fight crime. It was held in every precinct in the borough, and involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, and organizations.

This year’s event on the Section Five greenway included Congressman Joseph Crowley, District Attorney Robert Johnson, the Bronx Director Mayor Community Affairs Unit George Torres, and the Co-op City Department of Public Safety.

Community leaders spoke about building bridges between the community and the police, and working together to prevent crime before it has a chance to occur. The event included a dance performance by a youth group from Co-op City.

“This is my third year putting the program together, but it has been held at Co-op City for the past 12 years,” said Michelle Sanjous, director of community relations for Riverbay. “All of the community organizations are out here with tables and it gives them the opportunity to show the services they offer free of charge. We have teens from our teen center performing. It gives them the opportunity to find wholesome and creative activities instead of hanging out on the street.”

Bob Beider, vice president of the 45th Precinct Community Council, said that he was impressed by the way Co-op City and members of the Riverbay Corporation board took charge of the event and made it into a major success.

“The precinct council made a $500 donation to this year’s event, but the committee put their heart and soul into it,” said Beider.

Beider said that he was involved with National Night Out, which is in its 27th year, since about 20 years ago when he was a member of the 45th Precinct Community Council and the event was held in Pelham Bay Park.

He was pleased that New York Life donated their services by working with children who attended the event to create photo I.D.s that would let police have instant access to their information if they ever went missing.

Congressman Crowley spoke of the night as both a symbolic and concrete testament to the community’s firm stance against criminals who might do harm to the neighborhood. Johnson said at the event that the public is not only the eyes and ears of the police, but the conscience of the community. He urged those in attendance to look after not only their own biological children, but their neighbor’s children as well.

Night Out was about helping young people before they head down the wrong path.

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