NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD plans to use a ‘New Year’s Eve in Times Square’ security plan to end the spiraling violence that has beset Brooklyn’s J’Ouvert festival.
Gunplay has claimed the lives of three people in the last two years and wounded several others.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer explained, more cops and better lighting didn’t make last year’s J’Ouvert festival in Flatbush and Crown Heights any safer, so now it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy.
“We obviously were not happy with what happened, we need to do something very different,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Now, the entire celebration — a pre-dawn revel preceding the annual West Indian Day Parade — will be fenced in, booze and backpacks will be banned,and guns and weapons will be confiscated.
“We want to set it up similar to Times Square. There will be a screening process, approximately twelve different entry points coming into the route, people are going to have to go through a wanding similar to what we do in Times Square on New Year’s Eve,” NYPD Chief of Patrol, Terence Monahan said.
While the Times Square plan is aimed at preventing a terror attack, the J’Ouvert security plan is geared to stopping the gun violence that the event seems to generate.
Last year two people were shot dead, and four wounded. The year before Carey Gabbay, a Harvard educated aide to Governor Cuomo, was slain after being caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout.
This year the event will start at 6 a.m. instead of 2 a.m.
“It’s a pretty significant change. This is our way forward here to try and keep the event as safe as possible,” Police Commissioner, James O’Neill said.
For the most part, people were not thrilled with the new security measures.
“The police are taking their jobs a little too seriously,” Mitch Montana said.
“They don’t want us to have fun anymore,” Angela added.
“It’s crazy, every year it’s getting more security. I mean I can understand the liquor, but at the same time it’s getting smaller. They’re ending it early. J’Ouvert is not what it used to be no more,” Greg Paul said.
The real worry for police will be people who decide to start celebrating at 2 a.m. anyway.
Community leaders said they’ll hold an educational concert on August 28, a week before J’Ouvert to teach young people about the Caribbean culture it celebrates.