The event, celebrated across the country, is designed to bring the local police precinct and community members closer together in a fun setting.
“Each year, National Night Out Against Crime celebrates the important partnership between our neighborhoods and the police department,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said in a statement. “It shows we recognize the best way to keep our communities safe is by working together, block by block.”
Families enjoyed free hot dogs and popcorn, while kids enjoyed a bouncy castle, water slide and other activities. Locals also enjoyed live entertainment and dance performances.
“It’s great to bring the community together with the officers,” said Assemblyman Brian Barnwell. “This is the first step, gaining trust, seeing that we’re everyday people.”
Barnwell said the communities he represents, including Maspeth and Middle Village, are safe, thanks in large part to the 104th Precinct.
According to NYPD statistics, crime in the precinct has gone down slightly over the past year, including decreases in rape, robberies and car thefts. Grand larcenies and felony assaults have also seen a drop.
Burglaries, on the other hand, have gone up slightly over the last year, according to the data.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” Barnwell said. “I think a big reason for that is having dedicated officers.”
Barnwell also praised the NYPD’s new community policing initiative, which allows neighborhood officers, known as NCOs, to get to know local residents and businesses.
“It’s a great program because you recognize these people,” he said. “The community knows who they are. They trust them more.”
Robert Mastrolembo was among the thousands of people who attended National Night Out at Juniper Valley Park. Though it was his first time, he had a good first impression.
“A lot of families are involved, and you get to meet more members of the community and other volunteer groups,” he said. “It’s a good way to get to know them a little better.”
Mastrolembo was also recruiting community members to join a local community emergency response team (CERT). According to Mastrolembo, the team is trained on how to respond in emergency situations.
“It would be nice to get them more involved because they are giving back to their neighbors, families and friends as well,” he said.