• 68°

National Night Out recognized

Many city residents will remember the months of planning and special events leading up to the Aug. 1 blowout of National Night Out events across the city.

Well, the hard work of communities and civic leagues from Holland to Kingsboro and beyond, as well as dedicated staff of the Suffolk Police Department, office of the commonwealth attorney and city helped catapult Suffolk to a fifth place nationwide ranking from the National Association of Town Watch for National Night Out 2006.

Suffolk’s entry was selected from hundreds of entries in category three, which included cities with populations of 50,000-99,999, according to a press release from the Suffolk Police Department. The fifth place finish was up eighteen positions from last year’s finish.

Suffolk has received recognition for crime prevention efforts in the past, but now it is the highest ranking city in Virginia and the only nationally-ranking city in Hampton Roads, said Commonwealth Attorney Phil Ferguson during a special presentation to Suffolk City Council last week.

Ferguson said the listing certainly is a testament to what can be accomplished when everyone in the city works together toward a common goal.

“We still have much to do to rid our city of this form (gang) violence,” he said, and it will take the continued efforts of everyone in Suffolk working together to steer young people away from gangs.

National Night Out is an annual event designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police n community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

This was Suffolk’s sixth year participating in National Night Out.

“National Night Out is a tool that enables our citizens to get involved and partner with law enforcement for safer communities for everyone. It is wonderful that Suffolk placed well in the judging. But more impressive than that, was to attend the National Night Out events and witness our citizens getting involved, showing their support for law enforcement and working together towards a common goal. The bar has been raised for Suffolk, and we think our citizens are up to the challenge,” said Lt. Debbie George, with the Suffolk Police Department.

A special video presentation was prepared as part of Suffolk entry for nationwide ranking. Anyone interested in viewing it can visit http://www.suffolk.va.us/police/news.html.

ashley.taylor@suffolknewsherald.com