Meet your neighbors

Hoboken and Stevens police departments host community event against crime

Pop hits and a medley of songs from the musical Grease filled the air as families and Hoboken residents attended the Hoboken version of “National Night Out” at Church Square Park on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Communities across the country host National Night Out events on one day each year so that the police and the public can interact and show they’re vigilant about crime.
The night was hosted by the Hoboken Police Department and the Stevens University Police Department.
Chief Kenneth Ferrante of the Hoboken Police Department said that about 16,500 communities participate in “Night Out” nationwide.
The goals of the event are to raise crime and drug awareness, generate support for local anti crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are fighting back.

“It’s good for the community to see the people that are there to help them.” – Michael Casazza
Ferrante said that the night out is especially important in today’s world. “In light of what’s been going on in the last couple of years, the civil unrest, the police-involved shootings, the shootings of police officers, this event is very important and significant,” he said. “It allows the community to go out and look around and you see every different agency that is here for this community.”
Mayor Dawn Zimmer said she enjoys this event and attends every year. She said that it brings the community together and that Ferrante has a mission of building communication between the community and his officers.
Since becoming chief almost two years ago, he has hosted events such as Coffee with a Cop and Night Out in Hoboken.
Tuesday’s event included a bounce house, free food, and giveaways including baseball tickets, gift cards, and a Burberry handbag, according to the city’s website.
Many families were in attendance this year and the bounce houses were the favorites of many children.
Olivia, a 7-year-old, displayed her fake kitten tattoos on the back of her hand when she explained her favorite part of National Night Out in Hoboken.
“My favorite parts are the free foods and bouncing on the bouncy house,” she said.
Julian, a 5-year-old Hoboken resident, sipped on a free red drink supplied by the Wendy’s beverage truck and explained that he liked the bouncy castle because he “likes to have fun.”
Several businesses and community organizations also participated in the event. The Hoboken Family Alliance provided face painting, Local Barre raised awareness for their upcoming fundraiser for baby Madison (see last week’s cover story at and offered free classes, and the soon to open Insomnia Cookies handed out free cookies. The Steven’s Police Department let children try on tactical vests, helmets, and shields.
The Hoboken Fire Department gave children tours of the fire truck and showed the community their techniques and tools to open a car including a jaws of life display.
Hoboken Fire Fighter Michael Casazza from the Eighth and Clinton Rescue Company said the event is important for the community.
“This is a great event that brings everybody together and It’s good for the community to see the people that are there to help them all the time and the police especially,” said Casazza. “Everyone knows fireman are there to help, but a lot of people have the perception of police that they shouldn’t have, and the community needs to see that the police is there to help them.”
Casazza said that he enjoys participating in the night.
“It’s fun for us because [the kids] get to get familiar with the rig and tools, and the jaws of life display shows the community the tools we have on the rig,” said Casazza.
Police conducted free child car seat inspections in the parking lot of the A.J. Demarest School at 158 Fourth St.
Officer Joe Cahill of the Hoboken Police Department said that he expected 10 to 15 people to come and get their car seats checked, especially new parents.
“We see a lot of expecting mothers or parents with their first child because they aren’t sure of themselves and haven’t done it before,“ he said.
He said it’s worthwhile, as one family “came in with a seat that wasn’t properly installed. They tried it, which we like, because then we can show them where they made mistakes and now we are showing them how to properly tighten it up and everything…because when you take this to the car wash they accidentally unhook it or remove it. It’s important for them to see how it gets back in.”

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