Annual event is an invitation for neighbors to get to know each other.
By Mary O’KEEFE
On Tuesday, Aug. 2 community members will take to the streets, walking their neighborhoods or gathering at local events to discuss safety issues in their area as part of National Night Out. The event is a proactive approach to fighting crime.
This is the 28th annual National Night Out. The event started in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in an effort to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts, according to the Nation Night Out website.
The event has grown with an estimated 37 million people in 15,110 communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide involved in their own local event, states NNO.
In Crescenta Valley there are two ways to support the night. The first is to join Los Angeles County Sheriff’s personnel from the Crescenta Valley Station at Ralphs market in La Crescenta or Vons market in La Cañada. The second is to join others at a Neighborhood Watch gathering.
This is the second time the CV sheriffs will have a NNO event at Ralphs’ parking lot. There will be booths onsite representing everything from emergency responders to local organizations.
“Nationally, it is a way to tell criminals we are taking our streets back,” said Deputy Jorge Valdivia.
It also brings to the forefront the importance of getting and staying involved. Many communities, Valdivia said, have an “I don’t want to get involved” attitude.
“[Crescenta Valley] is such a wonderful place. People here get involved and they call us,” he said.
Deputies and detectives have said several times the community needs to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement as extra eyes and ears. Valdivia said residents could help simply by getting the license plate of a vehicle they find suspicious in their neighborhood.
Neighborhood Watch is all about being that extra set of eyes and ears. Sycamore Woods Neighborhood Watch is an example of how to run a successful anti-crime organization.
“It has been wonderful,” said Julia Leeper, Sycamore Woods Neighborhood Watch captain.
On Aug. 2, Leeper and members of the eight-block long neighborhood watch group are planning a house-to-house event. Many residents will be in their driveways to meet and greet.
Leeper has seen the benefits of neighborhood watch. Through this program residents meet each other, sometimes simply by walking across the street.
“People get to know each other. Some have lived only a few houses away from each other but had never met,” she said.
In January neighbors found out how valuable their organization was when a suspect ran into their neighborhood.
“There was a lockdown as police searched for the suspect,” Leeper said. “We sent out emails to let [residents] know. That increased neighbors’ interest in being involved. “
Getting involved, knowing your neighbors and your local law enforcement is at the foundation of NNO and Neighborhood Watch.
NNO events are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 2.
The CV Sheriff’s event will be at Ralphs market at 2675 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta. Community members are also invited to join the Sycamore Woods Neighborhood Watch in the 2800 block of Sycamore Avenue. At the end of the evening all are invited to gather Twelve Oaks Lodge at 2820 Sycamore Ave.