July 27, 2010 > National Night Out for a safer neighborhood
National Night Out for a safer neighborhood
By Meenu Gupta
Over 15,000 communities and 36 million people are expected to participate in National Night Out activities across North America this year. Communities nationwide will promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie on the first Tuesday of August, for the 27th annual National Night Out (NNO). Local communities have planned activities for that evening except Milpitas, which celebrates on the following Thursday to avoid conflicts with its scheduled city council session. NNO represents the kind of spirit and determination that is helping to make neighborhoods safer places throughout the year.
National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a nonprofit, crime prevention organization works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. NATW introduced the program in 1984, designating the first Tuesday in August as the target date of neighborhood gatherings and crime prevention awareness. The brainchild of NATW Executive Director Matt A. Peskin, NNO's goal is to educate citizens and strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts. The national program, coordinated by local crime prevention agencies and organizations involves thousands of communities at one time; participation has grown dramatically over the years.
The traditional display of outdoor lights and front porch vigils remain a part of NNO, while activities have expanded to include block parties, parades, police and fire personnel visits, neighborhood walks, safety fairs, contests, rallies and meetings. The event generates support for local anti-crime programs by strengthening neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. The presence of local law enforcement in the community under the positive circumstances of a NNO also allows many residents to meet their officers on a one-to-one basis. Tri-City residents are invited to join the large network of neighborhoods that will be holding evening celebrations on National Night Out.
Residents have hosted over 100 parties in neighborhoods all over Fremont in past years. "Due to budgetary constraints, we will not be able to guarantee a visit to every party as we have in past years," said Martha Matthiesen, Community Engagement Specialist, Fremont PD. "A lottery system will be used to choose the parties that receive a visit," she said. In order to participate in the lottery system, it is essential that you register your party.
Residents can register their event at www.fremontpolice.org or by contacting Karen Blount at (510) 790-6689 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The 2010 theme for National Night Out will focus on Child Safety. The city-wide celebration will include Neighborhood Crime Watch groups, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members, homeowners associations, and other neighborhood groups interested in celebrating and strengthening their neighborhood connections.
Union City is encouraging participation of neighborhoods and communities to come together and have fun on National Night Out, Tuesday, August 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. To register please contact the UCPD Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving unit at (510) 471-1365.
Residents may sign up their group for National Night Out in Newark by contacting Tena Oakley at (510) 421-1257 or Wayne Slack at (510) 414-8064. "The block parties traditionally run from approximately 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and we make every effort to stop by as many as possible during that timeframe," said Aisha Knowles, Public Information Officer, Alameda County Fire Department.
The City of Hayward Police Department is sending messages to neighborhoods to encourage participation in National Night Out. Hayward Neighborhood Alert Car-A-Van, the kickoff for National Night Out will be sending out NNO invites on Monday July 26. If you would like to organize a Block Party, the deadline to register is Friday, July 30. Hayward residents may also participate in the "Light's On" campaign. Call Crime Prevention Specialist, Mary Fabian for more information at (510) 293-1043.
Over the past ten years, Milpitas residents have used National Night Out as a tool to initiate local Neighborhood Watch groups and get reacquainted with their neighbors. Milpitas Police Department encourages Milpitas residents to host or attend neighborhood parties on Thursday, August 5 to celebrate "America's Night Out Against Crime." Officers from the Milpitas Police Department will visit gatherings, meet with residents, and distribute crime prevention information. Police stickers and police car tours are a favorite for children attending the events. Milpitas residents interested in hosting a National Night Out neighborhood party or to obtain information should contact Officer Gene Smith at (408) 586-2526 or Officer Kevin Jackson at (408) 586-2528 at the Milpitas Police Department's Community Relations Unit.
National Night Out
Tuesday, August 3
Thursday, August 5