Nat’l Night Out Against Crime a hit

(L-r) Senator Jeff Klein, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Community Board Member John Fratta, Cpt. Rock, 49 pct, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo were present at the event. Photos by Walter Pofeldt

In the spirit of unity and an increased quality of life, community members came out to join our men in blue as the NYPD held their 26th Annual National Night Out Against Crime.

National Night Out, held on Tuesday, August 4, is a day dedicated to sending criminals the message that law abiding citizens will no longer tolerate their mischievous behavior, in an effort to take back their streets.

“Its an opportunity for law abiding people to symbolically say ‘these streets are ours,’ said Councilman Jimmy Vacca, during the 49th Precinct’s NNO. “Symbolically it’s one day but this is something we have to practice everyday.”

The Greenway in Co-op City, where the 45th Precinct gathered for NNO, was full of local residents exploring the many tables displaying helpful information packets on the various services available to the public.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly made a special appearance during the 45th’s gathering, taking this opportunity to speak with the community on their safety issues.

“Its great to see the community and law enforcement out together in an effort to fight crime,” said Anthony Schepis, Executive Assistant District Attorney for the Bronx. “If this prevents one crime that is a good thing because it is one less. This is just one of the many ways to reach the community.”

During the 49th Precinct NNO, Pelham Parkway North lawn was packed with residents listening to the live music, while others lined up for the various inflatable rides, snack booths, or to learn about the efforts of community organizations and the services offered by local patrols.

“So much goes into this but it is completely worth it,” said Community Affairs Officer Vic DiPierro of the 49th Precinct. “If just one person or teenager here takes advantage of the explorers or the auxiliary or the community patrols, that is one person who many have been on the cuff of going the wrong way, choosing the right path instead. That’s what makes this a success. Every year this grows, and our goal is to just get our message across and have a good night.”

Transit District 12 of the NYPD held their own NNO celebration at the Morris Park/180th Street Station where NYPD was on hand to explain the importance behind keeping our subways safe, including its many local commuters and tourists.

“We have a heavy police presence in all of these stations, the people we take care of are moving all the time,” said Auxiliary Police Officer Michael DiPalma of Transit District 12. “National Night Out is to let people know we are here and that there are crime prevention programs available.”

The precinct explorers were represented at each NNO in an effort to recruit the youth of the community, leading them on a law-abiding path at an early age.

“National Night Out is great for the youth because they get to see the police out here and learn about preventing crime,” said Luis Celeste, 45th Precinct Explorer Captain. “Good to see there are so many people out to learn what National Night Out is all about.”

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