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Neighbors Celebrate Night Against Crime

Longtime Belleville and Bloomfield neighbors gather at block parties to show solidarity against criminals during annual National Night Out Against Crime.

Neighborhoods celebrated the annual National Night Out Against Crime Tuesday night in Belleville.

From the west side of Belleville at the Little Zion Methodist Church  in the Valley section, the parties stretched to Little Street and Union Avenue east of Washington Avenue, Rutan Road near the Bloomfield border, all the way to the Silver Lake section.

Homeowners came out to say their neighborhoods will not tolerate crime, according to Deputy Police Chief Mark Minichini.

“The night was very successful in encouraging our citizens to get together and keep their neighborhoods safe,” Minichini, who visited all the block parties, said in an interview. “We need to know that people are being more aware of their streets, and we’re looking for more cooperation, because that helps us locate where crime is happening, so we can target problem areas.”

In Silver Lake, Angela Cuozzo-Zarro hosted a block party on Salter Place, as she has for more than a decade, and was joined by her longtime friend, Joann Freid, who resides just over the town line in Bloomfield.

Cuozzo-Zarro said she was glad to see so many of her newer neighbors come out and join the party, since knowing your neighbors better helps people look out for each other.

“We need to keep our neighborhoods strong,” she said.

Freid talked about how long the two had been friends.

“We’ve been getting together for a long time, and it’s nice to be part of a neighborhood,” Freid said, as her two grandchildren took turns playing Bocce ball on Cuozzo-Zarro’s backyard court with a neighbor child from Belleville.

Cuozzo-Zarro was joined by Fourth Ward Councilman John Notari, who visited three different celebrations in three different wards, ending up in the First Ward clear across town.

“I’ve done this every year, and I enjoy talking with residents,” Notari said.

More than 20 Belleville and Bloomfield neighbors from Salter Place gathered for National Night Out.

There was a full menu at the Salter Place block party, including these ham and cheese, turkey and roast beef sandwiches on soft rolls, along with potato and macaroni salads, fried chicken and Sicilian pizza.

Special National Night Out balloons, the American and Italian flags welcomed a Bloomfield fire truck to Salter Place, which passed through during the early hours of the Salter Place party.

Alexander Ramos, 6, and Evan Freid, 6, were learning the finer points of Bocce ball, while Evan’s sister, Emma Freid, 4, refused to play, waiting until the boys left the court to take her turn.

At Little Zion Methodist Church at 154 Stephens St. in the Valley section, GeorgeAnn Polite led a group enjoying food and strengthening neighborhood ties.

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