Hundreds of police officers will descend on central Brooklyn over Labor Day weekend as the NYPD anticipates an uptick in violence and large gatherings that often accompany the holiday, officials said Thursday.
“As we know, Brooklyn is usually our focus for this weekend,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan told reporters during a press briefing at police headquarters. “In no way does this mean there won’t be hundreds of extra officers in the area where we have historically increased our patrol forces.”
Despite the traditional J’Ouvert festivities being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, police and city hall officials say they will be stepping up enforcement of the area with patrols on foot, in cars, and out of uniform, officials said.
The move comes as the city has seen a startling uptick in gun violence, with over 1,000 shootings recorded citywide as of Aug. 30 — compared with just 537 over the same timeframe in 2019.
Cops deployed to central Brooklyn over the weekend will be targeting illegal guns and any large gatherings on the street that could be the targets of gun violence, Monahan said.
“Our message to New Yorkers: don’t gather in large groups on the street anywhere in the city,” he said. “In addition to the obvious health reasons the NYPD has seen violence stem from these large gatherings.”
The department will also be targeting house parties, officials said.
“We will be out in force and we will have enough cops on the street to be able to address them and go and break these parties up,” Monahan said.
The city will also deploy light towers, partner with the Sheriff’s Department, and shut off Revel scooters service between 6pm and 6 am starting on Friday night — after the use of the scooters in some recent shootings.
Mayor de Blasio canceled the beloved Eastern Parkway parade in June due to social distancing concerns, and the city will host a virtual event honoring essential workers in its place this weekend — but officials are worried that locals may host their own, unpermitted celebrations.
During a City Hall press briefing, central Brooklyn Representative Yvette Clarke urged Brooklynites to celebrate the beginning of Carnival “at heart.”
“We are in the midst of this pandemic, and while tradition has dictated in the past that we gather together, this is not the time,” she said.