Community

Port Orchard to host ‘Night Out Against Crime’

Local law enforcement, fire and emergency services are inviting South Kitsap residents to join them in the National Night Out celebration on Aug. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m.

National Night Out (NNO), “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” was introduced by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1984.

The program is the brainchild of NATW Executive Director Matt A. Peskin.

In an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts, Peskin felt that a high-profile, high-impact type of crime prevention event was needed nationally.

He noted that in a typical Crimewatch community, only 5 to 7 percent of the residents were participating actively.

Due to the growth and success of these programs, he felt this percentage was too low.

Subsequently, he proposed a national program that would be coordinated by local crime prevention agencies and organizations — but that would involve entire communities at one time.

“NNO is a unique crime/drug prevention and safety event that occurs every first Tuesday of August each year,” said Port Orchard Police Officer Maureen Wheeler. “It involves citizens, law enforcement, fire departments, support groups, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials.”

The 26th Annual NNO last August involved 36.7 million people in 14,625 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

“It is a night to celebrate safety and crime prevention successes,” Peskin said, “and to expand and strengthen programs for the next 364 days.”

The NNO event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

“It is a night that citizens in our community and across America can send a powerful message about neighborhood unity, awareness, safety and police-community partnerships,” said Wheeler. “The theme is, ‘Give Neighborhood Crime and Drugs a Going Away Party.’”

This is the first year Port Orchard Police Department will be hosting NNO.

“We want to reach out to the Port Orchard community,” Wheeler said, “and let them know we care about the well being of their neighborhood, business and community as a whole.

“We have a host of local groups, resources and departments being represented at this event.”

“National Night Out has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and public safety-community partnerships in our fight for a safer community,” said SKFR Fire Chief Wayne Senter. “Plus, the benefits our community will derive from NNO will most certainly reduce public safety costs, in terms of money and emotional heartache.”

Festivities at the event will include free hot dogs, chips and soda while they last, a jump house for the younger children, live music with “The Greenbriar Project,” clowns and face-painting.

“All of the above was made possible by monetary donations by various contributors of our community,” added Wheeler. “We hope to make this an annual event for our Port Orchard community and we hope to encourage others to set up NNO in their neighborhoods, taking a more proactive stance to fighting crime.”

The event is free to the public and will be held at the Waterfront/Gazebo Park in downtown Port Orchard.

For more information, contact the POPD at (360) 876-1700. 

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