August 7, 2012 was the 29th National Night Out.
(From the NNO website)
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:
- Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
- Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
- Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
A group of Harrisonburg Police Officers (including the Chief), JMU Police Officers, Fire Department Chiefs and other education personnel, City Council Members, Safe Kids partners, Rockingham Sheriff’s Office Deputies, and many others went around the city to different neighborhoods connecting with kids, parents, and general community members. Interaction with law enforcement, and others that are there to help them, help with building trust and communication within the community.
These communities that we visit are stepping up and saying “This is our neighborhood, and crime is not welcome!” by participating in National Night Out. This event also bring neighbors together which is a HUGE perk! People keep to themselves so much now-a-days, and what better reason to come together for a potluck or ice cream social than to collectively determine how they keep their neighborhoods safe…and not just from crime. I was there, along with many fire personnel, asking children if they knew about smoke detectors and how to get out of the house. Some knew exactly what to do! Some had very wrong answers which makes me really glad I asked. So, I just tell them what they should do if the smoke alarm goes off, and in return, they got a coloring book and crayons!
I feel extremely lucky to be part of this program with so many wonderful and dedicated people. Many of these folks that you may have seen out and about during NNO I am lucky enough to call friends. These people inspire me to do more, be more active, and to educate. I hope they might inspire you to do the same. Learn all you can about how to keep your family safe, and use the resources we have in Harrisonburg!
This was an extremely successful night with many connections made. Even better, it didn’t really rain until we were finished! Thank you so much to the community who does that little (or big) extra to make this a safe and nice place to live…and for the food! Thank you to everyone that went out tonight to make a positive impact on this community. A huge thanks to Rachel Hammer, Community Resource Officer at HPD for putting this all together! I know many hands were involved in many different ways, but thanks for not only keeping this event alive, but for keeping it growing! You are a real asset to the community and just want you to know you are appreciated! And always a big thanks to Wanda Willis who keeps letting me tag along representing Safe Kids and HFD. I appreciate your trust and faith in me.