Awards presented for NNO

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The city of Suffolk on Tuesday presented community awards for its National Night Out parties earlier this month.

“The tradition continues that no one else in Hampton Roads throws a party for National Night Out like we do here in Suffolk,” said chair Diana Klink. “This was a phenomenal year with literally thousands coming together.”

More than 150 communities, civic leagues, churches and businesses participated in Suffolk’s National Night Out on Aug. 7. Every community that participated received a certificate to recognize its hard work.

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Klink noted that this was the largest National Night Out in Suffolk to date.

National Night Out is designed to bring attention to crime prevention and anti-crime efforts. These efforts are made by bonding communities together through cookouts and other parties.

“As observed, there is so much division, but thankfully in Suffolk we stand with mutual respect of one another. Make no mistake it takes concerned neighbors, but they make a difference in our goal for us,” Klink said. “In Suffolk (National Night Out) is more than just a night, it’s an event where relationships are shaped and memories are shared between the young and old alike.”

The gatherings were judged by volunteer youth on criteria like children’s activities, pre-event publicity and inclusion of a crime prevention element.

Klink spent the evening awarding the communities that shined the brightest for the judges, and Suffolk Police Department Maj. Steve Patterson presented them with commemorative plaques. They awarded honorable mention, top business, rookie of the year, first and second best communities, first and second best combined communities, grand finale sites and the spirit award.

The Olde Mill Creek community was awarded honorable mention. Sentara Obici Hospital walked away with multiple awards, including top business and the grand finale site award. Suffolk Redevelopment Housing Authority and South Suffolk Pleasant Hill Association won first and second place, respectively, for best combined community. Burbage Grant Neighborhood Watch and West End Lakeside Community won first and second place, respectively, for best community. Mary Ann Walston from Sentara Obici Hospital won the spirit award.

Main components of National Night Out include locking front doors and turning on porch lights while having an evening of fun in the neighborhood, but Suffolk took it one step further with its own challenge for the second year in a row.

Suffolk challenged its citizens to “lock it, don’t lose it,” to lower the rates of theft from motor vehicles.

In Suffolk, crime is going down in plenty of categories, but the rate of thefts from vehicles is rising. The police department has advised that locking car doors is the best way to prevent car break-ins.

“We are still having a big problem with people leaving their car doors unlocked,” Patterson said Tuesday.