WSCAI Journal July-August 2011 WACAI : Page 9

National Night Out: Karen Oliver, CMCA, AMS Fostering Community and Crime Prevention You  have  probably  seen  community  signs  each  summer  advertising “National Night Out.”  But maybe you have wondered,  what is it? And why should my community participate?   National Night Out, started in 1984, is a nationally recognized  day  to  raise  community  awareness  of  crime  prevention,  drug  prevention, Neighborhood Watch and more. It is an opportunity  for residents to get together with the common goal of getting  to  know  one  another  and  fostering  a  sense  of  community.  As  the  event  has  grown,  many  communities  now  host  annual  events  such  as  block  parties,  cookouts,  carnivals  and  more.    Often,  visits  from  local  police,  fire  or  EMS  are  arranged  in  conjunction with the event.   National  Night  Out  is  held  annually  on  the  first  Tuesday  of  August.  This  year’s  event  will  be  held  on  Tuesday,  August  2,  2011.  National  Night  Out  is  an  excellent  opportunity  for  both  Condominium  and  Homeowner  Associations  to  gather  residents  together  to  increase  crime  and  drug  prevention  awareness  and  foster  community.  In  our  busy  society,  it  is  all  too easy for residents to hide away in their homes rather than  getting to know their neighbors.   National Night Out events can be held on a small or large scale.    Your Community Association can hold an event for residents to  attend, or you can encourage residents to attend a larger event  put  on  by  your  neighborhood  or  City.  Many  cities  and  police  departments plan events for local residents to attend. Last year  in  Seattle’s  Capitol  Hill  neighborhood,  block  parties  featuring  barbeques  and  live  music  were  held. The  City  of  Bellevue  also  hosted a community party featuring entertainment, food, prizes  and  demonstrations  by  public  safety  officials.  Information  on  events in your community can be found by contacting your local  police department or City Hall.   Should  your  Condominium  or  Homeowners  Association  wish  to organize its own event, there are many options for activities  to  hold.  For  awareness  of  crime  and  drug  prevention,  the  event  is  a  great  occasion  for  holding  a  forum  for  owners  to  discuss  neighborhood  concerns.  Neighborhood  Watch  leaders  and block captains can be recruited and a neighborhood block  phone list can be created and later distributed to participants.    Consider  asking  your  local  police  or  fire  department  to  send  a  representative  to  discuss  crime  prevention  and/or  disaster  preparedness with residents.   In addition to raising awareness to drug and crime prevention,  many communities utilize National Night Out as a way to give  back  to  the community. Donations can be collected for a local  food  bank  or  volunteers  can  help  beautify  a  common  area  in  need of sprucing up.   Finally,  the  event  is  a  great  way  to  get  together  with  your  neighbors  for  some  fun.  Consider  holding  events  such  as  a  barbeque “cook-off,” a bike parade, face painting, a make your  own sundae station or anything else your community can think  of to get people outside and participating. Last year, a St. Paul,  Minnesota  Condominium  Association  hosted  a  progressive  dinner to give residents a chance to get to know one another.    In  Washington  DC,  a  Community  Association  held  an  event  featuring  a  block  party,  Special  Operations  Division  demos,  burglary  prevention  information,  bingo,  health  screenings    and more. This is a great year to get started if your Community Association  has  not  participated  in  National  Night  Out  in  the  past,  or  to  keep  the  tradition  going  if  it  has.  Consider  creating  a  committee  to  plan  the  festivities  for  each  year  and  welcome  resident  participation  in  the  planning  process.  Foster  resident  attendance at the big event by reminding owners of the event  in  advance.  For  a  reminder  of  how  much  fun  the  event  was,  consider  posting  pictures  of  the  event  on  your  community’s  website or bulletin board if available.   National  Night  Out  is  sponsored  by  the  National  Association  of  Town  Watch.  Your  community  can  obtain  additional  information  and  register  its  event  by  visiting Communities that register their events will  receive an organizational kit filled with “how to” materials. Be  sure  to  also  check  with  your  local  police  department  or  City  Hall  for  information  on  events  happening  in  your  community.    Then get out there and get to know your neighbors! july/aug 2011  |  Community Associations Journal 9

National Night Out: Fostering Community And Crime Prevention

Karen Oliver

You have probably seen community signs each summer advertising “National Night Out.” But maybe you have wondered, what is it? And why should my community participate?

National Night Out, started in 1984, is a nationally recognized day to raise community awareness of crime prevention, drug prevention, Neighborhood Watch and more. It is an opportunity for residents to get together with the common goal of getting to know one another and fostering a sense of community. As the event has grown, many communities now host annual events such as block parties, cookouts, carnivals and more. Often, visits from local police, fire or EMS are arranged in conjunction with the event.

National Night Out is held annually on the first Tuesday of August. This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. National Night Out is an excellent opportunity for both Condominium and Homeowner Associations to gather residents together to increase crime and drug prevention awareness and foster community. In our busy society, it is all too easy for residents to hide away in their homes rather than getting to know their neighbors.

National Night Out events can be held on a small or large scale. Your Community Association can hold an event for residents to attend, or you can encourage residents to attend a larger event put on by your neighborhood or City. Many cities and police departments plan events for local residents to attend. Last year in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, block parties featuring barbeques and live music were held. The City of Bellevue also hosted a community party featuring entertainment, food, prizes and demonstrations by public safety officials. Information on events in your community can be found by contacting your local police department or City Hall.

Should your Condominium or Homeowners Association wish to organize its own event, there are many options for activities to hold. For awareness of crime and drug prevention, the event is a great occasion for holding a forum for owners to discuss neighborhood concerns. Neighborhood Watch leaders and block captains can be recruited and a neighborhood block phone list can be created and later distributed to participants. Consider asking your local police or fire department to send a representative to discuss crime prevention and/or disaster preparedness with residents.

In addition to raising awareness to drug and crime prevention, many communities utilize National Night Out as a way to give back to the community. Donations can be collected for a local food bank or volunteers can help beautify a common area in need of sprucing up.

Finally, the event is a great way to get together with your neighbors for some fun. Consider holding events such as a barbeque “cook-off,” a bike parade, face painting, a make your own sundae station or anything else your community can think of to get people outside and participating. Last year, a St. Paul, Minnesota Condominium Association hosted a progressive dinner to give residents a chance to get to know one another. In Washington DC, a Community Association held an event featuring a block party, Special Operations Division demos, burglary prevention information, bingo, health screenings and more.

This is a great year to get started if your Community Association has not participated in National Night Out in the past, or to keep the tradition going if it has. Consider creating a committee to plan the festivities for each year and welcome resident participation in the planning process. Foster resident attendance at the big event by reminding owners of the event in advance. For a reminder of how much fun the event was, consider posting pictures of the event on your community’s website or bulletin board if available.

National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. Your community can obtain additional information and register its event by visiting Communities that register their events will receive an organizational kit filled with “how to” materials. Be sure to also check with your local police department or City Hall for information on events happening in your community. Then get out there and get to know your neighbors!

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