National Night Out Against Crime
by Ed Wendell
Aug 15, 2012 | 848 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last year we had the pleasure of attending a Classic Car Show at the band shell in Forest Park. If you’ve never been to one, I highly recommend it. You will see so many different makes and models of cars, different shapes and sizes, and different colors.  

Despite the differences in appearance, though, under the hood all of the vehicles are pretty much the same – they all run on the same basic mechanical principals.

Last week, residents of Woodhaven gathered with residents from Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, and Ozone Park – neighborhoods that are covered in whole, or in part, by the 102nd Precinct. The occasion was the annual National Night Out Against Crime, which was held this year at Buddy Monument, where Park Lane South meets Myrtle Avenue in Richmond Hill.

It was a beautiful evening, and we were treated to a nice, cool breeze. It was an opportunity to socialize with the men and women of the 102nd Precinct, to bond with them in a less formal setting. And having recently worked with the 102nd Precinct on battling graffiti and noise, it was an opportunity to express our appreciation for their efforts, particularly Deputy Inspector Armando DeLeon, Captain Martin Briffa, and our Community Affairs Officers Jose Severino and Joey Martins.

As I sat and watched the crowd assemble, I was struck by the similarities to the car show I referenced at the top of this piece.  Here we had people of different makes and models; people of different colors; people of different faiths and beliefs. Yet beneath all of these superficial differences were people that were more alike than they were different.

In other words, all of our engines run on the same scientific principles and we were all there that evening for the same basic reasons. We all want to live in safe, clean and healthy communities. We all want our community to be a safe place for children to go to school, a safe place to grow up.  

There was a strong undercurrent of sadness at the event, coming just 48 hours after the horrific shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin. There were many Sikhs in attendance and the local Sikh Temple from Richmond Hill had set up a table and was serving delicious homemade food side-by-side with officers from the 102nd Precinct serving hot dogs and hamburgers.

I find it impossible to wrap my brain around incidents such as the Sikh Temple shooting or the massacre at the movie theater last month in Aurora, Colorado. It seems impossible to predict or defend yourself against such acts of violence.

But it’s not hard to understand the need for the residents within one community, and by extension within the same precinct, to work together. Not only to do what we can to help make our community safer and cleaner, that’s a given. 

But by working together on such projects, people will find themselves dealing with others who they once thought were vastly different than themselves. And they’ll find out that, under the hood, we’re all the same. They’ll find out that we’re all driven by the same desire for a peaceful and safe community.

Each of these communities has their own civic groups that are there, not just for residents to complain about what ails them, but for those who wish to contribute to the betterment of their community. And it is important, now more than ever, that people of all makes and models come together to turn that from being wishful thinking into welcome reality.

The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association will hold their monthly Town Hall meeting this Saturday, August 18, at 1 p.m. at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 78-15 Jamaica Avenue.

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