Suffolk tops in NNO again

Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Suffolk once again took top honors from the National Organization of Town Watch for its National Night Out event.

Held on Aug. 4, thousands of Suffolk residents in dozens of communities across the city gathered for the annual event. Celebrated nationwide, National Night Out aims to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Suffolk took first place in its population category (50,000 to 99,999) for the second year in a row, besting neighborhoods from as nearby as Goldsboro, N.C., and from as far away as Kent in Washington state.

“It was one of the most exciting events that the citizens have put on,” said Diana Klink, chair of the city’s National Night Out efforts. “Just to see the excitement, the enthusiasm and the partnership with law enforcement to improve all of our communities was definitely something to behold.”

Klink said she received a letter announcing the award last week. Committee members made a public announcement of the award Wednesday night at the City Council meeting.

Other cities in Virginia received awards in other population groups. Richmond placed eighth in the nation, and Portsmouth came in 28th. Both are in the 100,000-299,999 population category. Galax, Va., placed 11th in the under 15,000 group. Herndon, Va. placed 26th in the 15,000-49,999 group. Chesterfield County, Va. placed ninth in the largest population group, 300,000 or more.

National Night Out communities compile scrapbooks and videos documenting their National Night Out events, which are judged against other communities nationwide for the awards. Judging criteria include impact on community, participation, extent of law enforcement involvement, and more.