MODESTO — Tuesday is the 30th annual observance of National Night Out, an effort to promote community safety by encouraging people to get to know, and watch out for, their neighbors. Modesto has won several national awards for its many National Night activities over the years, including fifth place last year. This is a ranking we much prefer over the auto theft list.
Block parties are planned throughout Modesto, Turlock and other communities. Typically they are organized by Neighborhood Watch groups. Modesto's Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department has a an activity planned from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Maddux Youth Center at 615 Sierra Drive in west Modesto. A free barbecue will be provided, along with entertainment, demonstrations, a community resource information booth and children's activities.
It's not too late to organize a gathering in your neighborhood. For more information, go to www.natw.org or contact your law enforcement agency.
We asked Modesto's police chief: Can one night of getting to know your neighbors make a difference in the long run in terms of reducing crime and promoting a sense of safety?
"Yes, I believe it does make a difference because it encourages neighbors to get to know each other and realize they are not alone. As people, we are always stronger and can make a bigger impact as a group than we can through individual effort. By getting to know your neighbors, it gives a name and personality to the house across the street or down the street; it creates more of a sense of a small community and when someone comes in and threatens that community, people are more likely to get involved, call the police and look out for each other. National Night Out is not about one night, it is about building relationships and a sense of community for long-term reductions in crime and a feeling of safety and security."
Galen Carroll, Modesto police chief