Last year, people did it in more than 20 neighborhoods. They held barbecues, ice cream socials and dessert potlucks. They turned on their porch lights, went outside and chatted with their neighbors. They partied and chatted with city officials and cops who dropped by, all in the name of neighborhood safety.
This year, even more will be doing it, Brentwood Police Community Service Officer Michele Keady hopes.
The occasion is the 29th annual National Night Out, a unique crime/drug prevention event set for Aug. 7 this year. In 2011, more than 15,000 communities participated from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide, a total of 37 million people.
National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug-prevention awareness, boost participation in anticrime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
In Brentwood, more than 20 neighborhoods held gatherings in 2011, each of which were visited by Chief of Police Mark Evenson, Mayor Bob Taylor, City Council members and police officers. They discussed concerns and observations, and answered questions from Brentwood residents.
Brentwood Neighborhood Advisory Committee members also attended the gatherings and selected one neighborhood as the National Night Out Spirit Award winner. The winning group won a beautiful gift basket filled with local delicacies.
Keady said she hopes the number of events will grow this year, and is taking requests for visits from police or other city leaders. She can be reached at the Brentwood Police Department at 925-809-7780.