In 1984 the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit crime prevention organization, promoted the first National Night Out Against Crime. That year, 400 communities in 23 states participated by sponsoring community events and urging residents to get to know their neighbors and keep their porch lights on.
In the decades since then, participation in the Night Out Against Crime has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2010, 37 million people in more than 15,000 communities in all 50 states took part in local activities. It has evolved into an annual event highlighting the best in local crime-fighting, crime prevention and community partnerships.
For 2011, Marysville's police department, fire district and crime prevention officials invite families to participate in National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, August 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Comeford Park, 514 Delta Avenue in downtown Marysville.
The event will feature information booths hosted by police, fire and other partner agencies, along with informational booths and displays staffed by local organizations. Partners include Tulalip Police, Department of Corrections, Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County and Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse.
Officers and departmental staff will share information about the K-9 unit, Neighborhood Watch Program and Marysville Volunteers Program (MVP) crime prevention efforts and more, with custody officers fingerprinting kids for Child Safety Kits. Fire district staff will pass out hats, badges and safety literature, while sharing additional information about various fire prevention and personal safety programs.
"Public safety personnel have put together a great Night Out this year that will be fun and educational for the whole family," said Marysville Police Chief Rick Smith. "Citizens and local community service organizations are important partners with police in making our community a safer place. National Night Out is our way of sharing the many benefits of crime prevention and personal safety programs available that extend well beyond one night."
The focus this year is on young people and helping them make good choices to stay out of trouble, added Smith. Four new participants, YMCA of Marysville, Camp Fire USA and businesses Kung Fu 4 Kids and Marysville Skate Inn, will be on hand to highlight programs and activities that create friendships while helping to raise morale and self-esteem in youth.
Where youngsters are involved, emergency vehicles are always a popular draw, and this year's event has an array of chrome and lights. Vehicles from the Tulalip and Marysville law enforcement, K-9 unit, an Armored Personnel Vehicle, fire truck and aid unit top the list.
The City of Arlington will host a public event for National Night Out in the parking lot of Food Pavilion in Smokey Point from 5 to 8 p.m. on August 2. Area residents are invited to stop by and talk to public safety personnel from various local agencies including fire and police, meet local civic groups, chat with neighbors and enjoy a BBQ hotdog. Equipment used by the fire and police departments will be on display, and youngsters can enjoy a visit from McGruff the Crime Dog.