‘Night Out’ kicks off

Published 8:56 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Capt. Steve Patterson of the Suffolk Police Department hands a party box to Bernice Bolling after she registered her neighborhood, Wilson Pines Apartments, for National Night Out at Tuesday’s kickoff.

National Night Out is coming back this August, and the city held a kickoff for the event on Tuesday.

About 30 citizens attended the event in City Council chambers to learn more about how to mobilize their neighbors for the Aug. 7 crime-fighting event. The goal of National Night Out, sponsored by National Association of Town Watch, is to get neighbors outdoors to present a united front against crime and build partnerships with law enforcement.

“It does more than just fight crime,” Vice Mayor Charles Brown said at the kickoff. “It brings communities together and builds good, positive relationships.”

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At the kickoff event, community organizers registered their neighborhoods, heard presentations from police and other city officials, got tips on how to throw a great party and won giveaways, including an official National Night Out banner.

Last year was the fifth year in a row Suffolk placed in the top five nationally among cities in its population group. It was in first place in 2008 and 2009. The awards are based on a video and notebook of material related to the event.

“It’s good to be recognized nationally,” Brown said. “We want to be No. 1 again.”

Residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside getting to know their neighbors. Ideas for activities include parades, cookouts, carnival games and countless other outdoor diversions.

During the night, one of several tour groups of city officials, law enforcement officers, firefighters and others visits each neighborhood. Judges rank the celebrations on a variety of factors, and awards are given including Best Community, Rookie of the Year and Best Business.

“It’s really important to involve the community,” said Denise Ranay, the organizer of last year’s winning community, Applewood Farms Homeowners Association. “I think that’s what community is all about.”

For more information on National Night Out or to register your community, visit www.suffolknno.org or call 514-4104.