National Night Out is a crime prevention event that encourages neighbors to get together and celebrate their pride in their neighborhoods by showing would-be criminals that neighbors stick together and look out for one another – if you’re looking for trouble, move along.
While National Night Out events are traditionally observed in neighborhoods throughout each participating city, the Oakley Police Department wants to reintroduce the National Night Out concept to Oakley residents by hosting a city-wide event to inform residents about local resources while demonstrating how easy it is to put together a National Night Out event of their own.
The event also gives residents an opportunity to learn more about Neighborhood Watch, a program Police Chief Bani Kollo wants to expand. Recreation Supervisor Lindsey Bruno has been working with Kollo to put on a fun, family-friendly event that will bring out the entire community.
“The whole idea behind National Night Out and Neighborhood Watch is to bring neighbors together,” Bruno said. “Neighborhood Watch is all about communicating with the people who live in your neighborhood, and in some areas of Oakley, people don’t even know their neighbors. An event like National Night Out is designed to get people out of their houses and talking to each other.”
This large-scale version of National Night Out will feature games and jumpies for the kids, Oakley Police K-9 demonstrations, child fingerprinting as well as information booths hosted by the American Red Cross, Contra Costa Search and Rescue plus the Community Emergency Response Teams. Guests can talk with the men and women who patrol the city and get the rare opportunity to check out the technology utilized by the local police force to catch suspects.
“We don’t intend for the city to host a National Night Out event each year, but we wanted to do it this year to encourage residents to host their own celebrations next year,” said Mayor Kevin Romick. “There have been a handful of events in our city in the past – mostly barbecues – but we want to get more people excited about the program. It’s important that neighbors look out for each other.”
Romick said National Night Out will highlight the importance of community participation in the fight against crime. The Oakley Police Department has only so many boots on the ground, so it’s helpful when alert residents serve as the eyes and ears of the community and tell police when something is amiss.
“If you know your neighbor is out of town, and you see a light go on in their home, don’t hesitate to call the police,” Romick said. “Maybe it’s a false alarm, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You’d want your neighbors to be looking out for your home while you’re away.”
Romick said the city’s National Night Out event will offer a “cornucopia” of information about the free, local resources available to residents, and encourages the community to participate.
Oakley’s National Night Out runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at Civic Center Plaza, 3231Main St. Food will be available for purchase courtesy of the Oakley Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, call Bruno at 925-625-7041 or visit www.oakleyinfo.com. For information about National Night Out, visit www.natw.org/nno.