September 5, 2023
NYC Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Good afternoon. Joined here by Police Commissioner Caban and his leadership team to talk about J’ouvert…Labor Day weekend, actually, not only the West Indian Day Parade, but if you can just imagine what was happening in this city in the last few days from Thursday night into Monday evening.
And the reason you’re probably not aware of all that was taking place is because the New York City Police Department smoothly handled the influx of activities. You think about Coney Island, you think about the J’ouvert festivities, the West Indian Day Parade, the Electric Zoo that was taking place of averaging of 40 something thousand people each day crossing the bridge.
And then you think about the overall public safety tourism: backyard barbecues, people celebrating the conclusion of summer. And watching the men and women of the New York City Police Department respond over and over again, understanding that before they do, there were their private festivities, they had an overwhelming responsibility to protect the people of the city, balancing public safety and justice.
And I recall looking yesterday on Utica Avenue on Eastern Parkway in the midst of the parade and watching one incident looking through one of the drones and watching the men and women. Think about it for a moment: something happens, police officers don’t run from the violence. They don’t run from the action, they run towards the action; and while they’re doing that, they continue to maintain the activities that are taking place around them.
No one does it better than the New York City Police Department. US Open, is happening, the parade is happening. People are barbecuing. People are in Times Square. This is just really something that the people of the city of New York should be proud of the men and women who are donning the blue uniform and carry out the practice of public safety.
It was the combined effort of not only our precision policing of the NYPD, but also brings together all of our partners. It’s going to be a hallmark of this administration on how we dismantle walls and barriers to execute plans and ensure that we can just get stuff done. We teamed with our crisis management team, our [peer] violence team, community partners, community leaders, technology.
This was one of the safest J’ouvert celebrations and Labor Day weekends we have seen in recent memories and probably the safest J’ouvert celebration in history. Coming off of last year’s J’ouvert celebration, you’re seeing a continuation of how we are crafting and tuning our craft and introducing new principles and tools to make it even safer.
Major crime was down city wide nearly nine percent this weekend compared to the same four day period last year. For J’ouvert and West Indian Day Parade, we created a comprehensive deployment plan, and all of our agencies were involved: DEP, DOT, FDNY, NYPD, everyone came together to make sure we utilized every asset we had to implement a well thought out, comprehensive, executed plan.
So, I want to make it clear that when it comes to handling these large scale events and weekends, we are the best. We’re the best not only because of the Police Department, but we’re the best because of the other agencies and we’re the best because of New York City residents. They play such a vital role in how we implement and execute these procedures.
The approach was clear: how do we celebrate without allowing people to be harmed by those who want to bring violence in this city? Even when you looked at what happened over at the Electric Zoo festival, it was unfortunate that the organizers wanted to turn our city into a zoo, and we were not going to allow that to happen. And we will be dealing with them in the next few days based on their behavior and actions.
But the NYPD was on the scene. You had thousands of people who were not allowed to enter the location because of because of over ticket sales, and we handled the influx appropriately with the same level of professionalism that we expect.
This is what public safety looks like: your city working to protect you, your family and your community, and using all resources available including technology. And Assistant Commissioner Daughtry is going to talk about some of the use of the technology that we put in place and the continuing use of technology as we protect civil rights, we’re protecting the rights to be safe.
We used a tethered drone on Randall’s Island to survey the size of the crowd. It would have been impossible to get a full scope on the crowd if we did not have the technology to do so. You know, it was interesting, it cost $1,700 to fill up a helicopter that is used often in situations like this, it costs 17 cents to fly a drone.
That’s just good use of New York tax dollars. And all those naysayers, they need to come and see how well we’re utilizing technology to make our city safe. It helps us respond safely and smartly to the conditions on the ground. This administration puts public safety at the heart of everything we do, especially when it comes to the big events that defines this city.
Not only was this past weekend a historic success, one most recent crime stat shows that we are making significant progress on lowering crime overall. Once again, a job well done by Commissioner Caban in getting his troops together. But we’re clear, good is the enemy of great. We are pursuing to be great. We want to continue to be the safest big city in America, and send a message to all those who want to host events in this city that we can coordinate a multitude of events at one time and make sure that it is handled in an appropriate way and a safe way. Job well done, NYPD; job well done, our partners including Crisis Management Team; job well done to the people of the City of New York. Commissioner.
Police Commissioner Edward Caban: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you, Mr. Mayor. Everyone knows New York City is unlike any other city in the world. There’s always so much going, from major sporting events to concerts, parades and more. And where there are large crowds, you can always be sure the NYPD is always there. We saw this on full display over the Labor Day weekend; and like the mayor said, we had the U.S. Open in Flushing, the Electric Zoo on Randall’s Island, multiple parades and cultural events, Orchard Beach and Coney Island open to the public, and the many local neighborhood parties happening each of our five boroughs.
All these events were packed with families enjoying the holiday weekend, and through it all, the men and women of the NYPD were there, away from their families, keeping watch over yours.
J’ouvert alone was an incredible success: zero acts of violence throughout the evening as many thousands came out to celebrate the culture and history of the Caribbean. In fact, the entire Labor Day weekend from Thursday to Monday in and around celebrations along Eastern Parkway saw fewer crimes and fewer acts of violence than last year, which as we all know was a new benchmark for safety. Chief Chell and Chief Giordano will get into more detail about specific crime information in a few moments.
Let me just also add, our success is always shared. The NYPD is fortunate to have many incredible partners, all of whom are working hard toward the same goals. Our [cure] violence teams were out there with us, conducting real time outreach where it’s needed. Members of the clergy were also present. [I] know [Pastor Monrose] was walking the streets with our leadership team until late in the night.
You also had the Department of Environmental Protection with us using noise meters to ensure music was kept at respectable levels. Our officers were also highly responsive to any flare ups that might have occurred, often responding in seconds to calls for help.
And over the course of the entire weekend, more than 70 illegal guns were removed from the streets of the five boroughs, including 30 from in and around Eastern Parkway celebrations. We have a few of our many great officers responsible for that work here with us today, and I am honored to thank them in person for answering the call and going towards the danger.
All of this is a huge undertaking, and there isn’t another law enforcement agency anywhere that could do what the NYPD did this past weekend. So once again, I want to express my thanks and gratitude to everyone who works so hard keeping New York City safe. I will now turn it over to Chief Giordano.
Chief Francis Giordano, Crime Control Strategies, Police Department: Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. So, I just want to give a brief perspective related to violence across the city. When we look at shooting incidents year to date, we’re down 245 shooting incidents, that equates to 320 victims. That’s 320 less people shot this year than last year.
So, we did an analysis on weekend shooting incidents, you know, related to the festivities and other events across the city, and based upon that analysis, there were four incidents in Brooklyn. Three out of those four shooting incidents occurred in the area surrounding…one incident occurs on the parade route and three incidents occur…two incidents occur in the areas surrounding the parade route. So, that’s three incidents associated with the event along Eastern Parkway yesterday.
Just related to some of the…a testament to the work our cops are doing. We’re currently at…we have to go back to 1996 related to the frequency of gun arrests that are occurring across the city. So, our cops are relentlessly pursuing those individuals in possession of illegal firearms. We’re going to continue those efforts, you know, throughout the rest of the year, and our cops will continue to focus on precisely on those individuals carrying guns.
Chief John Chell, Patrol, Police Department: Good afternoon. I just want to reiterate what the mayor and the commissioner said in terms of the [obligations] we had to all the events taking place this weekend and the staffing that we needed to pull this off. And let me start from the get go.
You know, our department, our city did a great job in keeping this a very safe weekend. So, let me start with the Electric Zoo up in Manhattan North. Like the mayor stated, over two nights we had 88,000 people attend, over capacity. Aside from the 200 plus cops and the 550 private security, [we had to] maintain the safety of all involved. When we looked at the issues from last year, we took an influx of about 100 grand larcenies which really pertain to people getting their pockets picked, their bags packed, gun…phones and credit cards.
So, this year we put together our new pickpocket team that’s been doing well for us throughout the city and we assembled them all in the electric zoo. During the course of the two days, they effected 18 arrests for [jostling] grand larceny. They did a preemptive strike, if you will, two days prior to go after people who have a history of this crime who had warrants and took them off the street.
Additionally, the sharp eyes of this team was able to pick off about 15 people who they know are there with fake tickets, fake wristbands and paraphernalia to commit their crime, an they weren’t allowed in the event. So, what does this result in Electric Zoo? This results in a 41 percent reduction in overall crime as [inaudible] spoke about. We had less people who were sick or [aided], and we had an increase of 175 percent increase in arrests.
So, at the end of the day, 88,000 people over two days, kept them safe, did a good job with less victims of crime, and the cops of Manhattan North did a great job.
Labor Day, Caribbean American Day Parade. As we stated in the press comments on Thursday, we were going to try to mimic last year’s success, and we did. This success was based on a partnership I mentioned Thursday: city agencies, elected officials, community leaders, clergy, violence interrupters, CMS and event organizers.
Like I said Thursday, the events for us started Thursday night with the Caribbean Music Awards and went through midnight last night, almost five days, four and a half days. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, minimal events. Kept the community safe.
As the mayor mentioned, our J’ouvert parade, very difficult task, and we did better than last year. Okay. We had teams, community response teams, public safety teams, neighborhood safety teams, interagency partners, community. Looking at calls for service as it relates to 311 jobs. Visiting historic locations that tend to give us a problem.
That night we pulled seven firearms off the street. Those are seven potential victims. We responded to numerous 311 calls, pickups if you will, driving on the street, loud music. Having our agency, specifically DEP, go in and instead of writing a summons, speak to the great people of East Flatbush. DEP got to their DJ, their sound device, got their music to acceptable level. No summonses, no incidents, the party continued. That is why we actually pulled off a better J’ouvert than last year, exactly that.
The parade yesterday: 1,000 cops deployed. We had five incidents on the parade route, a little increase from last year of one. But these incidents, our cops were there instantly and prevented any other harm.
The mayor mentioned the drone and the helicopters, Eastern Parkway. Our cops able to clear a corner of thousands of people right after that shooting; and from my experience on the ground, retaliation was coming. But our cops reacted fast. We took back that corner. Our drones, our aviation, everything, and we prevented more violence on that corner. Cops did a great job in 90 degree weather.
Let’s talk about post event, post seven o’clock last night. We had four events that were off the parade route versus one last year, a slight increase. But again, our cops were there. To put it in perspective, from Thursday night to last night in four precincts, 77, 71, 67 and 70 precincts, 34 arrested, 30 guns removed. Those are 30 plus victims in our eyes, and that’s why we had a safe weekend. Our cops performed, our city performed great, they did a good job. They did a good job.
From a personal point of view, I have 30 years on the job. I was a J’ouvert sergeant back in 2001. To compare J’ouverts of the past to what we’re talking about now, night and day. And that community knows that, we know that, our city knows that. So, we strive to be perfect, but that’s tough to be, but we kept the city safe this weekend. Thank you. I’ll pass it now to Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry who will talk about our deployment of drones.
Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry, Chief of Department, Police Department: Thank you, Chief Chell. The mayor and the NYPD support the role of technology in policing. The NYPD’s often at the forefront of technology. When it comes to drones, when it when it comes to drone technology, we are playing catch up. Drone technology is going to make the NYPD more efficient and allow us to do a better job of protecting New Yorkers.
Looking at this weekend, drones were used to assess large crowds as it relates to how we deploy….as it relates to how we deploy our resources. We saw this at the Electric Zoo, as the mayor and the chief mentioned. The Electric Zoo, we got a call of overcrowding. Multiple ticketholders rushed the fence and into the zoo.
Immediately we went up there, Chief Maddrey, Chief Chell and myself. We deployed our tethered drone truck. We were able to get an exact estimate of the crowd to make sure that there was no points of egress that were being blocked as a result of the fans rushing the gate.
The chief of department, chief of patrol were able to make critical decisions whether not…where we need to deploy our resources at. So they give us a better overview of what exactly is going on inside of the Electric Zoo.
Think about this. If we needed to request aviation, it’s coming from Brooklyn over our Floyd Bennett Field. We were able to get our drone truck up to that location in about 10 minutes. So this technology is very important when it comes to, you know, making specific split second decisions when it comes to crowd management at the Electric Zoo.
We also use drones in situations where they were hot pursuits involving suspects who were attempting to flee police. Think about this. It was a carjacking in a 107 Precinct. Individual was carjacked at gunpoint by three males. Our technology alerted us that the vehicle that we were looking for is coming over the Brooklyn Bridge. That vehicle was then seen on Eastern Parkway as there was a…officers were behind the vehicle in an unmarked car.
They immediately put over their location exactly where they were at. Our drones were over that location in a matter of seconds, as they were able to box the individuals and safely apprehend the suspects. If those suspects attempt to elude police, our drones would have caught them. There’s nowhere to run, our drones were overhead in seconds.
For our Labor Day deployment, we had four drone teams, two on the roof…two teams on the roof and we had two mobile teams as well as our drone truck [inaudible] of the Labor Day Parade. There was a shooting that Chief Chell mentioned on Eastern Parkway. Our drone was over that shooting in about 25 seconds. To able to get an estimate crowd size, crowd management, that video was being live streamed back to our joint operations center as well as to Chief Chell and to Chief Maddrey and their mobile iPads. Once again, they were able to make split second decisions where they needed to put additional resources at.
Chief Chell mentioned also Utica and Eastern Parkway where we kind of lost the block. In retaliation from the shooting, there was multiple youngsters there. There was something that was going to go awry. Not only do we have our tethered drone truck at that location, we also had our drone team there as well managing crowd expectations as well as where to send additional resources in regards to that large group.
We got the block under control in about 45 minutes, but to be able to see that real time as well as being fed back into our joint operations center helped in deploying resources tremendously.
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