This evening 24 neighborhoods in Richmond will join National Night Out, an annual nationwide event in which the community partners with the police to promote crime prevention. Neighborhoods will host block parties so that residents can get to know one another and work together to promote peace and safety.
In 2009, National Night Out involved over 36 million people in 14,625 communities from all 50 states in the United States, as well as its territories, and some Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. National Night Out 2010 is expected to be the largest ever, according to the National Association of Town Watch, the nonprofit and crime prevention organization that introduced the event in 1984.
“Richmond has been celebrating this event for at least 20 years,” said Michelle Milam, crime prevention manager for the Richmond Police Department. “Without the help and participation of our residents working with us, we can truly never be effective resolving crime.”
This year the kick-off party will start at the Target Store on Macdonald Avenue at 5 pm. There will be balloon artists, face painting, free hot dogs and hamburgers, police K-9 demonstrations, appearances by the Richmond Fire Department demo unit and McGruff the Crime Dog and live performances by The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts.
“Neighbors will get the chance to pick up good food, and pick up literature form the neighborhood council or the neighborhood watch group or the police department,” said Milam
The celebration will then break into three caravans made up of law enforcement, community and elected officials who will visit a dozen block parties in the city’s three geographic police beats. After touring neighborhood parties throughout the city the caravan will gather again at the Iron Triangle Community Garden on the corner of Macdonald and Harbour Way around 8:30 pm for an end party.
According to Milan in Richmond each neighborhood works very hard to plan their block party. “We have really great neighborhoods in Richmond and they are great because the people make them great,” she said.