Fight Against Crime–Join In National Night Out
This coming Tuesday, August 3, marks the 27th year National Night Out Against Crime events will take place in parks and playgrounds and other, similar venues across the land. 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.
The fighting back part is perhaps the most important. In 1984, when the first National Night Out was held, statistics from cities and towns across the United States seemed to indicate that the criminals were taking over. In many instances, lawabiding citizens did not venture out after dark and more than a few feared risking their lives if they walked down a street in broad daylight.
In 1984, Matt A. Peskin, executive director of the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a nonprofit, crime prevention organization which works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country, noted that in a typical “crime watch community”, only 5 to 7 percent of the residents were participating actively. He proposed raising this number by organizing the first National Night Out.
In all, 2.5 million Americans from 400 hundred communities in 23 states took part. During the next quarter century, across the land, citizens fed up with being held prisoner in their own homes while criminal elements ruled the streets took the National Night Out Against Crime idea and ran with it. Last year, more than 36 million people from more than 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide participated in National Night Out 2009 campaigns that involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials in events that included block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from police, festivals, neighborhood walks, safety fairs, contests, rallies and meetings.
How effective is National Night Out? It is impossible to say for certain, since statistics cannot be compiled for crimes that did not happen. That more than 36 million people from towns and cities all across the United States and Canada felt sufficiently confident to join in activities in public places on National Night Out 2009 is, however, a strong indicator of the success of the concept and the attitudes it engenders. We can help to ensure our safety and that our children and senior citizens, the most vulnerable members of our society, and those frequently criminals’ favorite targets. We can fight back against crime.
To bring a nationwide happening closer to home, we point out that National Night Out events will be held in every police precinct in the borough of Queens. Some of those events are listed in the Community Calendar in this newspaper, in print and online. We hope our readers will attend whatever events are transpiring in their particular neighborhoods. We can say it no better than did 18th century statesman and author Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Do not let evil triumph. Do something—join in National Night Out Against Crime 2010.