Get to Know Your Neighbors
National Night Out is an annual event hosted by the National Association of Town Watch and occurs the first Tuesday in October in Texas. The Amarillo Police Department participates in National Night Out and is proud of the commitment our community has to this program.
The primary purpose of National Night Out is to get neighbors to leave their front porch lights on, showing their support with their local police departments in the fight against crime. Neighbors are encouraged to get out of their houses and meet other neighbors in the area and get to know them. The theory being that if neighbors meet and get to know each other, they are more apt to report suspicious activity in their neighborhood rather than “look the other way” when they see something noteworthy. When you know your neighbors and watch out for them, overall crime in the area is reduced.
Having a block party or neighborhood gathering is the easiest way to get neighbors together. Many of the events will cook out or have a potluck to feed anyone who shows up. Some of the neighborhoods have bouncy houses, face painting, and other things for children to do. Adults can take this time to meet other neighbors, talk with the officers about neighborhood issues, or just visit and get to know the officers that work in their city.
Police Department's Role
The Amarillo Police Department will cover as many block parties as possible in the time limit given. Although the Crime Prevention Unit is responsible for coordinating National Night Out, assistance from other officers is critical. Patrol Officers are encouraged to attend as many parties as their call load will allow. Neighbors are very interested in meeting the Patrol Officer who is assigned in their area. This also puts a “face” on the department and allows citizens to interact with "their" Officer.
Block parties and activities usually begin at 6 p.m. and go until 9 p.m. Neighbors usually call months in advance to ensure a slot to have the Department attend their party.
National Night Out is one of the high points of the year for Crime Prevention. Officers look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as well.
For information on organizing a National Night Out party in your neighborhood, contact the Crime Prevention Unit at 806-378-4257.