National Night Out events unite communities
On Tuesday, August 1, communities around the county came together to promote awareness and public safety during National Night Out.
National Night Out (NNO) events are hosted annually on the first Tuesday of August in communities around the globe. These events are an opportunity for neighborhoods to take “a night to unite against crime.”
“It puts everyone in contact with the community,” said J.D. White, a police officer with the Baltimore County Police. “It’s good for everyone to see each other in a new light: us not arresting them and them not being arrested. It’s a good chance to just get in touch with everyone.”
Communities hosted musicians and other entertainment while gathering vendors together to create events centered on celebrating the area. Local officials and politicians stopped by to speak with their constituents as people served traditional cook-out food ingredients: hamburgers, hotdogs, and smiles.
Dennis Gilpin of the Aero Acres Community Association said that one of the Essex events, a community
picnic at the Girls and Boys Club on 1400 Fuselage Ave., wouldn’t have been possible without the support of area businesses.
“We set up the National Night Out event about three years ago. We are partially funded by the Citizens On Patrol program as well as support from the local businesses. The Salvation Army located on Fuselage Ave works with us as well,” he said. “We were fortunate to have some tents supplied by Tony’s Hot Dogs who also brought his Boy Scout troop to erect them. The community looks forward to this every year. Target goes out of its way to support us by bringing prizes over and supplying two new bikes to be given out on a free raffle. Having the police helicopter arrive is also a big draw.”
Henderson-Webb Properties also hosted a community picnic on Hartland and Middleborough Rds in Essex.
The festivities extended into White Marsh with an event hosted by the Hazelwood Park Community Association, which has been part of National Night Out since 2007. The celebration was led with a parade of police cars, fire trucks, and children around the block, waving to neighbors and welcoming them to their celebration.
“You meet a lot of people, it is how we get to know the people in the neighborhood. We get together and everybody is very sociable,” said Bea Speigal of the Hazelwood Park Association, “We’ve gotten to know our policepeople and the people that are running our county government and they know us, they keep track of our community. We’re close, a lot of people worked together and joined in to make this happen.”
Also in White Marsh, the Garden Village Association/Cops on Patrol, got involved with a gathering featuring meet-and-greets with officers from the White Marsh and Rosedale precincts, a school supply giveaway, and educational games and activities.
“The idea is to encourage everyone against and violence and drugs and show a unity in the community,” said Garden Village Association member Wannetta Thompson.
According to the police department, since its inception in 1984, National Night Out has grown from 2.7 million Americans participating in 400 communities in 23 states to more than 37 million people and 15,000 communities from all 50 states, United States territories, Canadian cities, and military bases around the world.