Help fight crime right at home

Published 9:31 pm Saturday, July 29, 2017

Once again, Suffolk prepares for its biggest crime-fighting night of the year, as National Night Out is set to launch on Tuesday.

It might seem odd to refer to a big city-wide party as a crime-fighting effort, but behind all the cornhole and hot dogs — behind the dunk tanks and talent shows, the water balloons and barbecues — National Night Out is all about communities coming together, and that’s the very essence of a successful anti-crime effort.

Communities, after all, do not benefit from low crime rates solely because of the hard work of good police departments. Some of the best and largest police departments in the nation exist in places where crime rates are high. Without the support of their community and without the community’s commitment to stamping out crime, even the best police officers face an uphill battle.

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National Night Out exists to help encourage those community traits — to introduce neighbors to one another, to help build relationships between neighborhoods and the police officers who serve them and to help both residents and officers recognize and pursue new opportunities for partnerships.

Millions of people in 16,000 communities across the United States, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide participate in National Night Out every year.

Neighborhoods and communities throughout Suffolk will hold a wide variety of activities including cookouts, ice cream socials, flashlight parades, block parties, contests and more. A caravan of city and law enforcement officials will visit the various communities to meet and greet residents and forge relationships.

National Night Out’s year-long theme for 2017 has been “Lock It … Don’t Lose It!” The theme acknowledges one of the most prevalent problems in Suffolk and around the nation: People who leave their cars unlocked have a much higher likelihood of becoming victims of crime — especially theft — than those who keep their vehicles unlocked.

Suffolk’s National Night Out brochures and promotional items offer advice connected to the “Lock It…” campaign, but the takeaway is simple: Lock your car. Doing so will make it far less likely that you’ll be a victim of theft, and that will free the city’s police to do other crime-fighting work within the community.

Participants in this year’s National Night Out are likely to hear this and other advice from the law enforcement officers who participate in the event. And the opportunity for them to share their particular neighborhoods’ concerns with the police in a non-threatening and fun environment is one that shouldn’t be missed.

For more information about a National Night Out celebration near you, visit

You can help fight crime right here at home. National Night Out needs you.