On Tuesday, August 1st from 6 to 9 pm, the 112th Precinct and the 112th Precinct Community Council, under the command of Captain John Lavelle, invite Forest Hills and Rego Park residents to take a stand against crime by participating in the 17th Annual National Night Out Against Crime.
This year’s event will be held at MacDonald Park at the intersection of Queens and Yellowstone Boulevards, across from the Forest Hills Post Office.
In the event of rain, the evening events will be held inside the Forest Hills Jewish Center across the street from the park.
This special evening is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness and to promote Police partnerships between the Police and the community.
Heidi Chain, president of the Precinct Community Council said, “the evening strengthens neighborhood spirit and lets the criminals know that the neighborhood is organized.”
Chain extended an invitation for local participation. “Please be sure to come and be a part of this great community event. We are planning to have something there for everyone of all ages in the community.”
Chain noted that the Metropolitan Transporation Association will have its van at the Night Out to help process new Metrocards, take pictures and provide half-fare discounts for seniors. Those with disabilities will also be able to sign up for their special cards or add carfare to the ones they already have.
More than 9,100 communities representing all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world participate in each yearly event and invite and encourage residents to support this year’s anti-crime effort through their participation.
Sgt. Bernie Adams, the community affairs officer for Patrol Borough Queens North said, “We are encouraging people to come and participate.
Captain John Lavelle, the commanding officer of the 112th Precinct, said, “Everyone is welcome. We hope as many people who can, will come. I trust it will be as successful as it was in past years.”
Community Affairs Officer Dave Valovage said, “We’re planning a real extravaganza with raffles and booths offering crime prevention ideas and also health information. There will be something for everyone. All are welcome.”
Valovage noted that there will be a special awards presentation at 7 p.m. and a message from our local elected officials.
“This year we will honor Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz and Assemblyman Michael Cohen for supporting us with funding. We will also honor the Forest Hills Jewish Center and Community Board 6.
Through crime prevention, safety demonstrations and personal security suggestions, the Night Out event works to reduce crime and to increase the quality of life throughout the neighborhood.
The program will feature music, free refreshments, demonstrations and entertainment.
There will also be information about the newly-created Community Youth Resource Centers and the services it offers to those in the 112th Precinct.
For the children, the sponsors are planning free children’s arts and crafts activities and other exciting events including roller blading.
The officers and auxiliary members of the precinct will provide guests with valuable information on crime prevention and home safety programs.
Residents will also have the opportunity to sign up for various Police-sponsored programs such as the auto anti-theft initiatives.
The evening will also feature special guest speakers from various community organizations including the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, the North Forest Branch of the library, the Red Cross, the Parkway Hospital, the Queens Disrict Attorney’s office, JASA, Community Board 6, the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance, the MTA Police, the 112th Explorers, the Fire Department, the Parks Department, the Central Queens YM & YWHA, the Rego Park Coalition Against Crime, Emilos Skate Shop, Tiger Shulman Karate, the Ridgewood Savings Bank, and the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association and much more.
Organizers stress that the Night Out Against Crime “sends a message to criminals. It lets them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”
Communities across the country are encouraged to hold outdoor events, such as the one in Forest Hills.
The national project organizers of the event said, “The National Night Out campaign is an extraordinary way to build neighborhood unity and strengthen police-community partnership. On August 1st, we invite neighborhoods nationwide to join forces with us to give crime and drugs a going away party.”
The National Night Out, America's Night Out Against Crime, was created in 1984 through the National Association of Town Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of organized, law enforcement-affiliated crime and drug prevention programs.
Since its inception, it has grown to involve more than 28 million people.
The event is held on the first Tuesday of each August with a celebration and a visible demonstration of crime prevention solidarity, police and community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.
During this special evening, residents are asked to display or turn on an outside light as a vigil marking this evening.
They are also asked to plan gatherings, rallies, parades, marches and other community-oriented programs.
Organizers said, "Forty or fifty years ago, neighborhoods were safer because neighbors knew neighbors, people routinely looked out for one another, and everyone knew the cop on the beat.
"On National Night Out each year, we work to rejuvenate that spirit of caring and cooperation," the group concluded.
Chain said businesses and volunteers, including choirs, choruses, or ethnic dance groups, who would like to participate in the event are asked to call the Community Affairs officers at the 112th Precinct at 520-9321.