Leave the porch light on this evening: it’s National Night Out, the evening neighborhood residents claim their streets in a fight against crime.
The traditional community-police event goes back to 28 years ago when the National Association of Town Watch first introduced the idea of National Night Out.
There will be block parties, cookouts and much police handshaking. Los Angeles Police will be hanging out in downtown L.A. at Pershing Square from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. while other officers will be up in the Valley and down in the 77th divison. As KPCC’s “On Central” blog writes, the LAPD Newton Division neighborhood is gearing up for a Lucha Libre themed event flanked by low rider cars.
Reporter Hayley Fox spoke to South L.A. graphic artist Jorge Nuno, who is working with LAPD to organize the event:
Nuño said they've had lucha libre at these events before, and they're always a big hit. Because of how much the event has grown in recent years, he said they attract enough of a crowd to have multiple attractions operating simultaneously, which is where the low riders come in.
But this year's National Night Out comes at a tense time for some police departments as they grapple with police shootings and controversial officer misconduct.
The Anaheim police department had a National Night Out event planned but has cancelled it for “safety reasons," and the city has experienced several days of citizen protest over the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man.
The Fullerton Police Department will continue with their planned NNO event, to be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Target parking lot on 2920 Yorba Linda Blvd. Hotdogs, face painting and balloon bouncing will go on as the Fullerton city council will decide to look into dismantling its own police department and instead contract with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Six Fullerton police officers were involved in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas last year, a mentally ill homeless man.
In Pasadena, police officers will join a city-wide National Night Out block party starting at 7 p.m. on Hammond Street. Pasadena police will visit as many neighborhood parties as they can, but that police department has also dealt with heavy criticism stemming from a police shooting of unarmed teenager, Kendrec McDade.
Since the March fatal shooting, several citizen complaints have been filed against a handful of officers alleging misconduct ranging from hiding evidence to threatening and intimidating people.
Below is a map of all the NNO events in LA.
View Locations for the LAPD's 29th Annual National Night Out in a larger map