For years, the J’ouvert and West Indian Day Parade celebrations on Labor Day weekend in Brooklyn had been marred by gun violence — but as Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday, “it did not happen” in 2022.
Hizzoner joined the NYPD and representatives of a litany of city agencies Tuesday to laud a relatively peaceful weekend that saw no homicides related to the two celebrations — and the third-safest Labor Day weekend since the NYPD began tracking crime through CompStat, according to Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
According to Mayor Adams, this success was due to pooling all city agencies and their resources into one pot, allowing them to work together to help keep the community safe.
“We all know it; we know the ritual. Pick up the paper the day after and you look at the number of homicides, how many shootings took place? What happened at the parade? It didn’t happen this weekend. It did not happen. Why? Because four days out we brought together our commissioners and we said we are going to be a team,” Adams said standing in police headquarters on Sept. 6.
While patting himself on the back, the mayor admitted that he had inherited a city that was a “mess.” However, he called it a mess due to barriers built between the various city agencies. The mayor credited teamwork for helping to quell the slaughter from the traditionally bloody events.
The NYPD also praised extensive training and community engagement for making the weekend safer than in previous years. Authorities employed techniques as sample as providing every on-duty officer with background on the festivities and why individuals would be throwing powder and donning face paint.
“I did my first J’ouvert in 2001 as a lieutenant in the 67 [Precinct] and I sit here and think about how much I ran around that night. Shooting after shooting, stabbing after stabbing, tragedy after tragedy. When I look at 2022, in my eyes I have seen the best collaboration,” Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey said.
In addition to having officers placed in the area prior to the events to identify potential drivers of crime, top cop Sewell revealed that the NYPD did stop a potential tragedy by apprehending an individual with a firearm. According to Sewell, a gunman attempted to enter the West Indian American Day Parade with a gun but was noticed by officers who seized the gun.
“Without question, the reason the event ran as smoothly and as safely as it did is the exhaustive, collaborative effects of many of the people representing the agencies in this room,” Sewell said.
In addition to the peaceful festivities on Labor Day, the NYPD also reports that overall shooting incidents have reduced this month by 30.3% compared to August 2021 (115 in 2022 while 165 shootings in 165). Murders citywide also decreased by 54.2% with 27 homicides in 2022 and 59 in 2021.
The NYPD indicated that the decrease in murders and shootings was evidence that the department’s efforts to tackle gun violence are bearing fruit.