Spend a ‘Night Out’ with neighbors

KEARNY-HARRISON —

Mark your calendar!

Next Tuesday, Aug. 2, more than 16,000 communities across the United States — as well as in Canada, U.S. territories and American military bases around the world — will take part in the 33rd annual National Night Out.

As they have in the past, Kearny and Harrison will be among the participants. You should be, too.

According to its founders, the National Association of Town Watch, the event was designed to “heighten crime-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.”

Originally, it was known as the National Night Out Against Crime — with people asked “to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police.” That “message to criminals” is still important.

But, in recent years and especially in smaller towns, it’s the “police-community partnership” aspect that has taken on special meaning. This year, even more so.

National Night Out is your chance to meet those who protect and serve you — and to bond with your neighbors. And to have a heckuva lot of fun, especially for the youngsters.

In Kearny, National Night Out will be celebrated from 6 to 8 p.m. on Belgrove Drive, between Afton St. and Bergen Ave. The Kearny Police Department and Fire Department will participate. In addition, there will be a display from Classic Cars, children’s entertainment and activities by Clowns & Gowns and Aardvark Amusements, a dee-jay, and a N.J. State Police helicopter fly-over.

Other participants/sponsors include: the Kearny Municipal Alliance, Liberty Family Success Center, Poland Spring, Kearny Bank and Provident Bank, Stella’s Empanadas and Mr. Softee.

In Harrison, the event is co-sponsored the Harrison Police Department and Harrison/East Newark Elks. It will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at Roosevelt Park, where representatives from the Mayor and Council, HPD and Elks will meet citizens and discuss crime prevention and drug prevention/education topics.

There will also be games and giveaways for children, and music and food will be available.

Elsewhere in our country, there is a lot of talk about the need for better communication between cops and citizenry. But The Observer’s towns have long prided themselves in their police departments’ community-outreach and community policing efforts, which could stand as examples of just how well such programs can work. And National Night Out is one of the best.

See you there!

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent