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July 31, 2012 > National Night Out

National Night Out

By Gustavo Lomas

When the word "party" is spoken, thoughts turn to fun times, good people and memories to be made. What could be better than a summer block party when the weather is ideal for neighbors, friends, and family to come together with music, food, and other party fun? Tuesday, August 7, National Night Out, is a time for people to party with a purpose. The annual crime/drug awareness and prevention event encourages neighborhood spirit and partnerships between communities and police to provide safer cities.

This celebration is held not only in the U.S. but also in neighboring Canada and military bases worldwide; over 37 million people expected to take part. Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch partnering with the Target Corporation and local law enforcement agencies, the event is now in its 29th year and has strong representation in the local cities.

Neighborhoods in each city can expect to be visited by both sworn and un-sworn Police Department staff, firefighters, and members of commissions and boards. Although attendance at every National Night Out party may not be possible, city officials are determined to visit as many as they can. Each visiting team will offer help and support, perhaps a few prizes and gifts, and maybe even a few of their own dance moves. Registered party organizers will receive updates leading up to the night of the event.

The night can include flashlight walks, contests, youth programs, an ice cream social, BBQ, or an international potluck, serving groups from five to hundreds. It all depends on registered participant party plans. Those who register will receive a "National Night Out Organizational Kit," complete with promotional ideas, guidelines, tips, questions and answers, photo ready art, sample news releases and proclamations on previous years and the event as a whole.

Fremont Police Department's Community Engagement Specialist Monica Matthiesen stated, "Each year we try to have a theme to the parties, some years it is easier to notice the theme more, but this year our theme is Staying Connected." With social media and websites, there are many opportunities to connect with neighbors and cities. Matthiesen notes, "Many people use Facebook or Twitter but the Fremont Police Department also has a more private and secure site to help people stay connected and current with updates using a program called Nixle.

"We are encouraging Fremont residents to 'stay connected' with one another by participating in a Neighborhood Crime watch group, sharing neighborhood information as well as reporting all and any suspicious activity or person(s) to the police, to institute unity." Matthiesen added, "We want to heighten crime and drug awareness, strengthen neighborhood spirit as well as police partnerships, and most importantly, send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods and communities are organized and fighting back."

National Night Out promotes this concept through community awareness and neighborhood action. There are no financial barriers to participate; organizers work to ensure that the only thing necessary is a desire to have a great time. So far 120 parties have registered in Fremont alone, but many more are expected. Similar participation is expected in neighboring cities. For more information on National Night Out visit www.natw.org or contact your city's police department.

Castro Valley/San Leandro/San Lorenzo
Tuesday, Aug 7
4:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Alameda County Sheriff
(510) 667-7770

Fremont
Tuesday, Aug 7
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
(510) 790-6740
www.fremontpolice.org

Hayward
Tuesday, Aug 7
6 p.m.
(510) 293-1043 for North Hayward
(510) 293-7151 for South Hayward
www.ci.hayward.ca.gov

Milpitas
Thursday, Aug 9
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
(408) 586-2529
www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov

Newark
Tuesday, Aug 7
5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
(510) 578-4379
www.newark.org

Union City
Tuesday, Aug 7
5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
(510) 471-1365
www.ci.union-city.ca.us

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