It was a safe and fun night out, as Sunset Park played host to the 72nd Precinct’s annual National Night Out against Crime.
The fun-filled event, held on Tuesday, August 1, at the soccer field in Sunset Park, brought hundreds of members of the community together with 72nd Precinct officers, elected officials, and organization representatives to enjoy live music, dancing, food, games, rides and mascots for the kids to take a photograph with.
Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez considered his second National Night Out at the 72nd Precinct a huge success. “This day has grown into a unity event,” he told this paper. “National Night Out Against Crime is not only a relationship between the community and the police, but it’s also turned out to be a yearly event that everyone looks forward to. They appreciate and love it. All these organizations that are here contribute to this incredible event. If you look around, the number of organizations has doubled and we expect to do that every year.”
He also discussed the unique diversity of the area. “If you look at the crowd and performances and organizations, they include the Chinese community, the Hispanic community, businesses. The local hospital, NYU Langone, is sponsoring us this year, which we really appreciate,” he said.
Event organizer Hector Gonzalez stressed how important the day is for the neighborhood. “This has brought the community together,” said the 47-year Sunset resident. “It’s incredible nowadays how much the community works together as opposed to the past. The kids and parents are involved. People say hi when they recognize you. Also, sometimes they don’t know how to go about getting information and this is an opportunity for them to get together and share that information.”
“National Night Out presents an opportunity for our diverse community to unite and celebrate the work that we’ve done to keep our neighbors safe,” added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “More than any other district, Sunset Park proves that diverse communities can work together, no matter what language you speak, in partnership with the NYPD. And the 72nd Precinct just gets better and better and today we thank them and all the men and women that keep us safe.”
Assemblymember Felix Ortiz was also in attendance. “It’s an event that brings family and people together to enjoy the night and make sure we can say thank you to our police officers. They deserve a big round of applause,” he said. “When you see one on the street, make sure you say, ‘Hello, how are you?’ For me, who has a brother that is an FBI agent and a cousin who is in law enforcement, I know the sacrifice they have to make and the question of whether they are coming home, so we want to make sure we pray for them.”
Gonzalez, who received a proclamation from a representative of Mayor Bill de Blasio, noted that crime has decreased. “Right now, we have about a 10 percent decrease in overall crime,” he said. “We’re going to continue to work. It’s because of the police officers and the NCO [Neighborhood Coordination Officer] program that we’re able to do that. It’s done an incredible job. The community knows who their community NCO officer is, and communicates with them regularly on a one-on-one basis.”