National Night Out is tonight in Port Orchard

By MICHELLE BEAHM | Staff Writer

The National Night Out will be on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and Port Orchard will be celebrating at the Port Orchard Marina Park Gazebo.

National Night Out, started 30 years ago by the National Association of Town Watch, is meant to bring awareness of crime and drug prevention, and to support local anticrime efforts.

“It’s a national crime prevention event that takes place every August,” said Port Orchard Police Officer

Maureen Wheeler. “It shows them what’s available to them on a crime prevention level.”

It was Wheeler who started the celebrations in Port Orchard a few years ago, and since then she’s helped others have their own Night Out celebrations in the community.

“Sometimes police departments put it on, sometimes neighborhoods have barbecues,” she said.

At the celebration, which will start at 6 p.m. and last until 8:30 p.m., there will be a band, food and informational booths where people can get information about crime prevention in Port Orchard. There will be volunteers from the Boys & Girls Club to help clean the park and keep the celebration running smoothly.

When Wheeler first started the National Night Out celebration in Port Orchard, she said only a couple hundred people participated. Since then, attendance has increased by the hundreds every year.“Everybody kind of walks through all the areas and gathers information,” Wheeler said. “Then they just kind of sit in the bleachers and eat and listen to music. It’s a fun filled night.”

At the celebration, representatives from various crime prevention organizations in the community will be present to inform people what is available to them for protection, ranging from protection against domestic violence to community policing.

On top of raising awareness of crime and crime prevention tactics, Wheeler said that National Night Out, also known as America’s Night Out Against Crime, creates a sense of togetherness.

“It brings a cohesiveness to a community by bringing everybody out,” she said.


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