We’ll have some of the sights and sounds from National Night Out on the Lower East Side a little later. But first, a slightly newsier take on the annual evening of community-building by local police precincts.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton visited precincts in every borough last night, including the 7th Precinct here on the LES. A good crowd had come to the street festival on East Broadway (just west of Clinton Street) to enjoy free food, games and entertainment. Bratton vowed to keep crime down throughout New York City, but he did not refer specifically to recent controversies dogging the department, including the death of Eric Garner, who was put in an apparent chokehold during an arrest.
Bratton was joined by other elected officials, including New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, New York City District Attorney Cy Vance and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. One politician missing from National Night Out was mayor Bill de Blasio, who attended a state dinner at the White House instead. The Wall Street Journal devoted a whole article to de Blasio’s absence and asked people on East Broadway what they thought of the mayor’s decision:
At a Lower East Side event, where scores of residents turned out along a stretch of East Broadway for food, drinks and live music, Mr. de Blasio’s presence was missed by some. Told that the mayor wouldn’t be attending, Don West, the president of the Seventh Precinct’s community council, said he found it hard to believe. “This is what community’s all about. We’ve had every politician here,” Mr. West said. “I’m personally disappointed, not for me, but for everyone who’s come out here. But I understand he can’t be everywhere.”
The headline in Capital yesterday read, “Bratton to tour crime plagued neighborhoods.” Besides the 7th Precinct, he made stops at the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx, the 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn, the 103rd Precinct in Queens and the 122nd Precinct on Staten Island. “In Manhattan’s 7th Precinct,” the article noted, “there has been a slight uptick in felony assaults and petty larceny, compared to last year, statistics show.”
In case you’re curious, here what the stats indicate specifically. The precinct has recorded no murders this year, as opposed to one in 2013. Felony assaults are up 22% – from 66 last year at this time to 81 this year. Just this past Friday, a woman was slashed on the face on Delancey Street after trying to intervene as a man shouted anti-gay slurs at another man. A suspect is in custody and police have been praised for swift action in the case.