Local gatherings seek to curb crime on national scale Tuesday night

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Michael @ NW Lens/ Flickr Creative Commons

Local fire and police departments participate in National Night Out, August 4, 2009 in Washington.

Police and sheriff’s departments throughout the Southland have logged 40-year lows in violent crime. But an event Tuesday night reminds those who serve and the people they’re sworn to protect not to rest on comforting crime stats.

The National Night Out began during a darker time in this country’s recent history. Three decades ago when the National Association of Town Watch began to hatch the event, many people assumed that their streets had become too unsafe to walk or play in – and would stay that way.

National Night Out wasn’t the only response. But the idea that people and police could challenge fear with old-fashioned block parties contained a powerful ripple effect. About 400 neighborhoods sponsored those parties during the first observance in 1984.

This year, 15,000 across the country plan to take part in the 28th National Night Out. In Costa Mesa, Latino and Anglo organizations are planning a shared church social. Riverside’s hosting two pool parties at Reid Park and Islander Pool Park. West Hollywood plans live music, dancing and barbecues – and dozens of other Southland cities and towns have organized their own events as well.

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