According to the National Association of Town Watch, which sponsors the event, National Night Out aims to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
According to Antioch Crime Prevention Commissioner Hans Ho, the number of groups participating in Antioch has increased by 30 percent from last year, jumping from 23 to 30.
Through block parties, cookouts and visits from members of the Antioch Crime Prevention Commission, police department, City Council and fictional character McGruff the Crime Dog, the community will increase crime awareness and drug prevention.“It really strengthens neighborhood sprit,” said Antioch Police Lt. Robin Kelley. “People get to meet their neighbors.”
The first 25 groups to sign up for the event received $100 block grants redeemable for food and refreshments for the alcohol-free event.
In a letter to all block captains, Antioch Police Chief Alan Cantando recommended neighborhood watch groups walk together while holding lit flashlights in a universal sign of unity against crime, turn on porch lights as a symbol of awareness or hold neighborhood watch meetings to update neighborhood involvement against crime. Nationwide, 37 million people from 15,000 communities in all 50 states participated in National Night Out in 2011. For more information, call 925-779-6980.