“Once upon a time, we kept our porch lights on. We opened the door even if we didn’t know who rang the bell. And we could always leave the back door unlocked during the day.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Together, we are making that happen.
National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”
-National Association of Town Watch web site
National Night out has been going strong since 1984. The idea is that the more we know about our neighbors and our police and fire departments, the safer we will all become.
People come and go in our neighborhoods and it may take months or longer to meet in a social setting to get to know them. The National Night Out events help bridge that disconnect and promotes a community where we really know our neighbors.
At the kick-off event in the parking lot of Target Michelle Milam, the Richmond Police Department’s Crime Prevention Manager, she admonished the crowd to turn to the side and introduce themselves to at least five people they didn’t know before.
There were four caravans of police officers and fire fighters, elected officials and community volunteers who spread throughout the city to visit the 27 gatherings of neighbors. With police sirens wailing and fire trucks they would announce their arrival.
At many of the events there were DJ’s playing music, there were bouncy houses for the kiddies, face paintings, karaoke and, of course, lots of food.
Some of the events were small block parties where others were larger events which organized by neighborhood councils.
The evening concluded with the party at the Pullman Point Apartments where a large group of neighbors gathered for the fun and festivities. To add to the fun, whistles were handed out to the small children—whistles with a high pitched shrill noise—the kind that attract attention when you need it and the kind that drives adults crazy (when the Council asks for more programs to treat the mentally ill, think about those whistles).