NYPD plans beefed up presence in Brooklyn ahead of Labor Day weekend

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison at work.
File photo by Dean Moses

The NYPD will beef up its presence in parts of central and southern Brooklyn over Labor Day Weekend despite the cancellation of most sanctioned J’Ouvert and Labor Day celebrations, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

While the pre-dawn J’Ouvert celebration and Labor Day Parade down Eastern Parkway were officially canceled this year amid a spike in the contagious Delta variant, five sanctioned concerts are still planned outside Brooklyn Museum, and police officials said they still expect a number of unsanctioned events and parties. 

“We want to make sure the NYPD is out there keeping people safe,” de Blasio said at a press briefing on Sept. 1. “Because we believe in neighborhood policing this plan has been developed with community organizations, with clergy, with elected officials.” 

The NYPD will increase its presence in Marine Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Crown Heights and Park Slope over the weekend, where the most activity is expected.

“We do anticipate several non-sanctioned cultural events throughout the weekend,” said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison. “We plan on deploying additional police officers and resources.” 

The department plans on deploying cops on foot patrol and in vehicles throughout Brooklyn to provide security to any events, according to Harrison. 

Due to the parades being canceled, Eastern Parkway will remain open to traffic throughout the weekend. 

As part of strengthened security protocols, the department will deploy legions of its controversial light towers meant to prevent crime, and will break up any sidewalk barbecues. 

“Sidewalk barbecues will not be permitted due to the fact that unfortunately, they may start a large gathering that can result in traffic conditions which could be a problem, which we’ve seen in the past,” Harrison said. “Officers will be out there to enforce quality of life conditions. Underage drinking, excessive noise, and hazardous crowd conditions.”  

The cancellation marks the second straight year that the central Brooklyn Caribbean community has been deprived of the celebration, typically held in the pre-dawn hours of Labor Day Weekend. 

The event has occasionally been marred by violence, including last year when all formal celebrations were called off, but an un-permitted celebration was the site of a mass shooting that injured 4 revelers, including a 6-year-old child. 

Labor Day Weekend has traditionally been among the bloodiest in New York City, with 22 shootings recorded citywide over the weekend in 2020.

While the city struggled with a rise in shootings during the summer of 2020, July of 2021 saw the violent crime rate dip, with 158 shootings recorded, compared to 243 in 2020, marking a decrease of 35 percent, NYPD statistics show.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.