Crime stats prove Night Out works

Published 8:40 pm Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Another installment of National Night Out is in the books for Suffolk, and it’s reasonable — and maybe not even presumptuous — to expect another award from the National Association of Town Watch for the city’s shindig.

After all, the city had thousands of citizens taking part at dozens of events across the city. Officials and public safety partners — including Police Chief Thomas Bennett, Sheriff Raleigh Isaacs Sr., Fire Chief Cedric Scott and Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson, along with their employees — called on every one, meeting the people whose lives they save and protect every day. Neighbors met one another over plates of food or in line with their kids for the bounce house. Partnerships in communities and between the communities and the public safety officials who serve them were forged. Even the weather cooperated, delivering a pleasant evening that did not feature the blazing heat for which National Night Out has become known in prior years.

It is the partnerships formed by National Night Out and other partnerships that allow law enforcement to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Since the police cannot be present on every block at the same time, they cannot possibly prevent or witness every crime. They depend on a good working relationship with the public to keep them informed of possible problems and give them tips after something has occurred.

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Fortunately, a lot fewer major occurrences have been happening recently, Bennett told supporters at the National Night Out kickoff at the Suffolk Visitor Center Pavilion on Tuesday. So far this year, he said, homicides are down 100 percent from last year. Burglaries are down 30 percent, and robberies are down 21 percent.

However, he noted it’s only through the help of the community that the trend has started and will continue.

“Your police department cannot be successful if we don’t have your trust and your support,” he said.

That’s the message of National Night Out, and it’s something all participants should remember all 365 days of the year.