Approximately 200 community residents, law enforcement agents, and civilians enjoyed a spirited National Night Out (NNO) on the Southwest Waterfront with the Titanic statue looming in the foreground. Now in its 31st year, the annual event occurs the first Tuesday in August and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.

The NNO campaign involves citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and local officials from 9,500 communities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. Our own First District Department provided crime prevention information and safety trinkets, gift bags courtesy of Macy’s, and an opportunity to meet with local law enforcement agencies while enjoying entertainment, food, and lots of fun.

A highlight of the event included a visit from Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier who enjoyed conversations and rallied residents to dance, taking the fun and excitement of the event to a higher level. Four-year-old Seneca Jones was invited to dance with Chief Lanier while their every move was photographed by his father Jamal Jones, son of Thelma D. Jones. Afterwards, the residents didn’t miss a beat in lining up to take photos with the Chief, who patiently remained until everyone had their photos snapped.

“We had a good turnout at this year’s National Night Out events,” said Chief Lanier. “National Night Out is an important way for MPD to connect with the community. Our officers get to meet neighbors one-on-one, face-to-face and hear what their concerns are. It should be noted that violent crime is down 12 percent compared to this time last year.”

Held throughout the city in all seven police districts, National Night Out is designed 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 letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

By: Thelma D. Jones

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