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Head out for crime-fighting event

Published 10:14pm Monday, August 5, 2013

Today is National Night Out, and that means there are a few certainties about today that everybody already knows going into the event:

  • It will be hot.
  • It will rain in at least part of the city.
  • There will be plenty of great food.
  • Everybody will have a lot of fun.

National Night Out has been going on in Suffolk for a number of years, and I’ve been privileged both to cover it for the newspaper and to be on the committee that helps plan it. (I haven’t contributed much this year, though. Sorry, fellow committee members.)

National Night Out is a great event that helps fight crime through building partnerships between law enforcement and citizens and, perhaps more importantly, forging relationships among citizens themselves. The idea is that holding a special event in the community that brings together citizens and law enforcement will present a united front against crime to any would-be criminals, help citizens feel more comfortable reaching out to their law enforcement officials and get neighbors talking to each other and learning about each other.

Between all the food, games and special activities, for example, a neighbor might meet the folks who just moved in across the street and feel more comfortable asking them to watch his house while he’s gone next month. An older woman who lives alone might meet a police officer who patrols the area, and the officer will know to keep an extra watch on her house. Folks new to the area will know the majority of the people who live in their neighborhood and therefore will know when someone seems out of place.

Of course, the noble purpose of National Night Out is enough reason to come out, but the food is another reason all its own. Across the city, neighborhoods will grill burgers and hotdogs, chop barbecue, fry chicken and fish, spin cotton candy, churn homemade ice cream and drizzle flavored syrup onto shaved ice to make snow cones. The Suffolk Partnership for a Healthy Community folks are cringing as they read this paragraph, but hey, it’s only one day a year, right?

So whatever motivates you to visit a National Night Out party, grab an umbrella, come with an empty stomach and prepare to meet your neighbors and local law enforcement. You’re guaranteed to have fun.

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