We encourage Jefferson City residents to get involved in this year's National Night Out on Sept. 14.
The nationwide event stemmed from the National Association of Town Watch in 1984. The first event was a huge success, as the NATW already had an already established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers across the nation.
The first annual NNO involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states. However, the event soon grew to a celebration beyond just front porch vigils.
Neighborhoods across the nation began to host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much, much more, according to the NNO website. Today, 38 million neighbors in 16,000 communities across the nation take part in NNO.
A dozen of those groups exist in Jefferson City, and more are in the process of forming.
At these events, neighbors usually meet with two officers, who talk with residents about crime trends and give out statistics for the neighborhoods and ideas for how to prevent crime.
"We hope to try and spend more time at these events so we get to really know the residents, not just give a presentation and leave," said Josh Hagemeyer, JCPD neighborhood watch/community watch officer.
NNO builds relationships and respect between citizens and law enforcement. We haven't seen the strained relationships between the two around here like other cities have faced. But events like this let both sides work together toward a common goal: fighting crime.
To find out if your neighborhood is hosting an NNO event or more information about forming a watch group, contact Hagemeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-634-6398.