A block party with a purpose is an apt description of National Night Out Against Crime.
Members of Neighborhood Watch groups on Thursday will switch on outdoor lights and gather to discuss their role in preventing neighborhood crime.
Neighborhood Watch is a coalition of neighbors who agree to look out for each other's property, watch for suspicious activity and contact authorities when a crime is suspected.
Jefferson City police officers encourage formation of Neighborhood Watch groups because they believe the bonds among neighbors forge greater communication and cooperation, which can lead to both prevention and prosecution of crimes.
Although the deadline has expired to invite a police officer to Thursday events, neighbors who wish to form a group may call Kevin Kempker, the department's crime prevention officer, at 634-6400.
"Many people don't know their neighbors and would like to get to know them better, and a watch group is one way to get things started," Kempker said.
In connection with National Night Out Against Crime, all community residents are encouraged to switch on outdoor lights between 7-10 p.m. Thursday.
Vigilance is a key role residents can perform.
A Neighborhood Watch sign, outdoor lighting and secure door and window locks may be enough to deter a criminal.
When suspicious activity is witnessed, a prompt call to authorities may prevent a crime or lead to an arrest.
And accurate descriptions of suspects and vehicles may help authorities apprehend suspects and solve crimes.
Watching out or each other is appropriate description of what it means to be neighborly.