More than 3,000 people are expected to pack into a Newburgh Park today for an evening of hope. It's all part of today's National Night Out, aimed at reducing crime among children. YNN's Elaina Athans has more.
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- “This is a community that’s being mobilized as it’s never been before,” said Newburgh Mayor, Judy Kennedy.
The City of Newburgh investing $10,000 in an evening dedicated to reducing crime among youth. "National Night Out," essentially a block party, will be offered for free, including food, activities, games and entertainment.
It's a night of fun for sure, but with a real purpose: giving kids options and inspiring them to find better things to do than hang out on the streets and getting involved in violent activities.
"They’re able to work, they’re able to go something positive and make their own, instead of standing on a street corner,” said Maritza Wilson, National Night Out organizer.
Typically on National Night Out events, the city does experience a drop in crime. The Newburgh Police Department says there’s a significant dip in calls for service.
“Because of the high attendance of the event, people have something to do. And I've noticed our calls for service usually go down which is a great thing,” said Michael Ferrara, Newburgh Police Chief.
The police chief says youth crimes are decreasing. However, tensions in the community right now are high.
In March, Michael Lembhard was shot and killed by city officers after police say the 22-year-old lunged at officers with a knife. Involved officers were cleared of any charges by a Grand Jury, which angered some residents who felt there was wrongdoing.
The mayor believes the upcoming gathering with help rebuild community spirit.
“I think it’s part of the problem in America is we’re losing connections. So having them here and having people connect and building that sense of camaraderie and safety, this is a key event to doing that,” said Mayor Kennedy.