As the Chinese community prepares for Lunar New Year celebrations, extra security measures are being put in place in Brooklyn's Chinatown. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park is busier than usual as residents get ready for Lunar New Year. Among the celebratory items being bought include traditional red envelopes signifying good luck.
"This is the envelope to put the money to give to the kids," said one person. "Kids are happy."
The abundance of cash being passed around, though, is a cause of concern.
"Unfortunately, sometimes, Asians are being targeted for crime, criminal activities, and maybe one of that is because they do not speak the language, and sometimes that they're afraid to report the crimes," said Paul Mak of the Brooklyn Chinese American Association.
Mak says that at this time of year, he asks the police to step up their presence in the community, and they do. There's a mobile command center set up in the heart of Brooklyn's Chinatown, and NY1 spotted patrol cars not only from the 72nd and 66th precincts, which serve the area, but also units from Flatbush, Midwood and Red Hook helping protect residents.
"We are having so many police presence to make sure that when people go into the banks to withdraw money, that they are being safe," Mak said.
The New York City Police Department says that they started enhancing security detail for Brooklyn's Lunar Year festivities about six years ago as the events have grown.
Lunar New Year is on Friday, and there will be a parade to celebrate the Year of the Horse on Sunday. It'll be the 27th annual, and parade organizers say they expect about 150,000 revelers this year.
New Year festivities kick off at 11 a.m. Sunday on Eighth Avenue.