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111th Pct hopes crowds come to National Night Out

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National Night Out is a citywide annual event designed to...

By Kathianne Boniello

The 111th Precinct in Bayside said it wants to see a high community turnout at this year’s National Night Out, but several local civic leaders said they were unaware the event even existed.

National Night Out is a citywide annual event designed to promote community activities as a way to fight crime and keep neighborhoods safe. Each precinct hosts its own forum at which the community is welcome to come out, talk to officers and learn about crime prevention.

Anthony Lombardi, 111th community affairs officer, said last week the precinct wants to spread the word about its crime prevention programs but has been hampered in the past by low attendance at its National Night Out. This year’s National Night Out in the 111th was to be held Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center.

“We like to keep the community informed,” Lombardi said. “The message is crime prevention and anything else that’s on the community’s mind.”

Statistics show that crime in the first half of 2002 increased in the normally quiet 111th Precinct by nearly 10 percent, driven up particularly by a spike in burglaries. Lombardi said 111th Precinct officers were in demand to come and speak at civic meetings when burglaries increased earlier this year, but as burglaries dropped requests have slacked off.

But several civic leaders said last week they did not even know what National Night Out was and had received little or no information about this year’s events. Some civic leaders said they saw fliers advertising the 111th’s National Night Out, while others said they had heard nothing about it.

The 111th Police Precinct includes the communities of Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Hollis Hills, Auburndale and parts of Flushing.

Bayside Hills Civic Association President Jerry Iannece, who also is president of Community Board 11 in Bayside, praised National Night Out but said the precinct could do more to advertise the event.

“They could do a better job,” he said. Iannece, who has been a civic leader for several years, said the 111th Precinct has not kept his civic group abreast of National Night Out activities.

Eliot Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, said the timing of National Night Out, which usually is held in August, was part of the problem.

“The Douglaston Civic Association doesn’t normally hold meetings in the summer,” he said, which makes it difficult to inform civic members about summer events. Socci said he had received little information about 2002’s National Night Out.

When asked about this year’s event, Bayside civic leader Frank Skala, president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, said “no one has informed me of it.”

The Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center is at the intersection of the Long Island Expressway and Douglaston Parkway. National Night Out in the 111th Precinct was planning to include VIN etchings, bike registrations and other crime prevention programs.

For more information, please call the precinct at 279-5295.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:13 pm, October 10, 2011
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