Watch Out For Your Community
by Laura Wood, local National Night Out Coordinator

On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, \citizens of Greenville will be joining forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the 28th Annual National Night Out (NNO). NNO is “America’s Night Out Against Crime” which is a unique crime and drug prevention event sponsored nationwide by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and sponsored locally by the Greenville Police Department and the Hunt County Attorney’s Office.

NNO 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. Getting to know your neighbors is an important step in guaranteeing safety in your communities. Citizens are encouraged to host block parties or neighborhood events and to gather outside. NNO promotes neighborhood alliances which strengthens our communities and preserves the quality of life by helping to educate our families, friends and neighbors on crime prevention.

Anyone can participate in NNO by signing up to host a neighborhood event. NNO can be celebrated in any way you choose. In the past, neighborhood events have featured block parties, cookouts, ice cream socials, watermelon feasts, live music, children’s games, swim parties, bounce houses, etc.

Officers with the Greenville Police Department, Firefighters from Greenville Fire-Rescue, City Manager Steve Alexander and Mayor Tom Oliver along with members of the City Council also go out and visit the various event locations.

After the conclusion of NNO, locations are selected to receive awards for the Biggest Event, Best Entertainment, Best Activities, Newcomer Award and Spirit Award. In 2010, the Biggest Event was awarded to Kavanaugh United Methodist Church with 120 in attendance. This event was organized and hosted by Reverend Ann Barton. Best Entertainment was awarded to Watergate Apartments hosted by Joyce Stephens and featuring D.J. Patrick Rovell. The Spirit Award went to Detra Hearne for hosting an event at Rosemary & Cedar Streets. The recipient of Best Activities was the Walworth Harrison Public Library. This event featured carnival games with prizes, Wii video games and snacks and was hosted by Sylvia Rodriguez and LaJeana Jackson. The Newcomer Award went to Kiowa Drive hosted by Jonathan and Jill Flores, Susan Davidson and Donna Jarvis. This was their first time hosting an event and they had 77 in attendance.

A NNO Organizational meeting will be held on Monday, June 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Public Safety Building located at 3000 Lee Street. Anyone who would like more information on NNO or who would like to sign up to host a neighborhood event is welcome to attend.

A NNO Kick Off Party will be held on Monday, July 25 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Greenville Sports Park. There will be free food, bounce houses, a charity softball game between the Greenville Police Department and Greenville Fire-Rescue, children’s activities and much more.