National Night Out

by Tracee Sioux

One way to empower yourself and your family is to meet the neighbors. The theory behind National Night Out is that if your neighbors know you, they pay attention to who is coming and going from your house. You’re less likely to be a victim of a crime if your neighbors are involved. The hope is that they’ll say, Hey, that looks a little sketchy, and call the police should someone break in.

I remember having the run of the neighborhood when I was a kid. America was either safer then, or we just weren’t aware that so many of our neighbors were terrible human beings not worth knowing.

I don’t live in the best neighborhood in town. I know only one of my neighbors and he’s a little off, given to random fits of screaming. I feel slightly guilty for judging these people, my neighbors, who are probably a mix of naughty and nice, without even knowing who they are.

Today I noticed lots of National Night Out signs in prosperous neighborhoods. Surely, if I lived in one of those neighborhoods I’d be more inclined to know my neighbors right?

It begs the question: Is it more empowering to acknowledge your neighbors if they are a little shady or vanish inside the house and group everyone in the whole neighborhood as “a stranger” for the benefit of empowering a daughter? According to the National Sex Offender Registry there are quite a few convicted sex offenders in my neighborhood and that doesn’t make me want to run right out with a batch of cookies.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:
* Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
* Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
* Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
* Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

I saw one sign in my neighborhood a few blocks down. The lawn was mowed and the house kept up. Perhaps I’ll stop by for some punch and cookies just so I can say I’m a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Perhaps you should too.

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