Labor Day Weekend: NYPD beefing up patrols to combat gun violence

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The NYPD will increase patrols over the coming Labor Day weekend to combat a continuing rise in violent crime, including dispatching hundreds of additional officers along the traditional route of the West Indian Day parade to discourage crowds from forming.

"Given public health concerns, this is going to be a lot different than it has in the past," NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. "The one thing that is going to be the same is that the men and women of the NYPD will be out in large numbers."

There will be an increased police presence in Central Brooklyn and around the city this weekend, Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo said, including a ban on large gatherings, mask and social distance enforcement, light towers, and extra Sheriff's Officers.

Revel scooters will also be shut off from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Friday.

"As we approach this Labor Day, we all can appreciate that the landscape of the city will be different," Pichardo said. "One thing that will not be different is our officers will be there every single day just like they have been in the past. You will see police officers on foot and increased presence, not only in Central Brooklyn, but all over the entire city."

NYPD Crime Stats: 166% increase in shootings fuels rise in violent crime across NYC

Amid the surge in gun violence across New York City, activists are calling for more resources and a push for peace ahead of anticipated violence.

"The overarching goal to keep every New Yorker safe," Picardo said. "I ask and implore everyone in the city to continue what you have been doing, be safe, be responsible. Together, collectively, we can have a great safe weekend, and we can certainly celebrate next year on Eastern Parkway just like we've done in years past."

The annual West Indian Day Parade will be celebrated in a series of small performances in an online Zoom event, where up to 3,000 people will be able to watch.

The parade is one of the city's biggest events and draws as many as three million people, a Labor Day tradition in New York to honor immigrants from the Caribbean. But while it has been an overwhelmingly festive event, it -- and the J'ouvert that precedes it -- has been marred by acts of violence in recent years.

"Fortunately we were able to get some overtime funds to be able to get our officers out there in force this weekend," Monahan said. "That's why we have so many more cops out there. We need to have cops on the street to deal with these large events. Two cops in a radio car are not going to pull up to 200 people on the corner and be able to move them."

Related: Anti-violence leaders plead for peace ahead of Labor Day weekend

Community leaders and activists are urging people to stay off the streets this weekend and to celebrate their heritage in their own homes and backyards.

"We all want to be at barbecues this weekend," City Council member Laurie Cumbo said. "We all want to be at parties, we want to be at celebrations, we want to do the nightlife. We want to do the club. But this is not the weekend. This is the weekend to stay home with family. This is not that weekend."

Related: Is there an NYPD work slowdown? City officials want an investigation

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