Tuesday night from 6 to 9 p.m. you have a chance to meet some of the Bainbridge Island Police Department officers whose job is to watch over our community. This 29th annual National Night Out (NNO) is designed to generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen community-police partnerships, build community spirit, increase crime- and drug-prevention awareness, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and not passively waiting to be victimized.
As in years past, the event is being held at Town Square between City Hall and Bainbridge Performing Arts.
Coordinating this year’s Bainbridge National Night Out is Lieutenant Phil Hawkins who emphasizes that this is an event for the whole family. Attendees can visit more than 20 displays and booths from local merchants and nonprofits. Local merchants are providing free hotdogs, beverages, popcorn, ice cream, cake, and cookies. The Fire Department will have a truck and ambulance on site, and the Police Department will bring its boat.
When the National Night Out began nearly three decades ago, 400 communities in 23 states participated. Last year, 15,325 communities in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide joined in. In all, 37.1 million people participated in 2011. This year is expected to be even bigger.
NNO was created by Matt A. Peskin, the Executive Director of National Association of Town Watch. Peskin says, “While the one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out does represent the kind of spirit, energy, and determination that is helping to make many neighborhoods safer places throughout the year. It is a night to celebrate safety and crime prevention successes—and to expand and strengthen programs for the next 364 days.”
Even if you can’t attend, you can participate. Hawkins reminds Bainbridge Islanders, “Whether or not you are able to attend, one way you can support the effort is to leave your front porch light on, which is a hallmark of the event.”
Photos by Julie Hall and Anne Homyak.