JPD wants you to participate in National Night Out in August

Annual event promotes crime reduction, public safety

Police are encouraging neighborhoods in Juneau to participate in this year’s National Night Out activities, probably better known as “America’s Night Out Against Crime.”

Lt. David Campbell of the Juneau Police Department said they are hoping Juneauites will coordinate block parties, cookouts and neighborhood walks in addition to the usual custom of keeping front porch lights on during set hours.

The annual event is held nationwide to celebrate and promote public safety, crime reduction and drug awareness. It’s sponsored by the non-profit group National Association of Town Watch.

According to the group’s website, NATW got its start in the early 1980s developing and promoting crime prevention programs, such as neighborhood watch groups and crime watch volunteers, as a way to serve those devoted to safer communities. National Night Out itself, they say, fosters better relations between police agencies and community members, as well as neighborhood camaraderie. This year marks its 30th anniversary.

“The night celebrates safety and crime prevention successes and works to expand and strengthen programs for the next 364 days,” NATW’s Executive Director Matt Peskin wrote on the website.

Juneau typically participates by having members of the Juneau Police Department, Capital City Fire/Rescue and the National Guard visit various block parties, often with a fire truck available for touring in tow. McGruff the Crime Dog — of the “Take a Bite out of Crime” fame — is known to make special appearances.

Campbell said National Night Out 2013 will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 6.

To host a block party or similar event, you can register as a “Block Captain” by filling out a form at the JPD station (6255 Alaway Avenue), online at the JPD website www.juneaupolice.com, or online at the NATW website www.natw.org.

For more information, you can also contact JPD Officer Jeremy Weske or Community Services Officer Jennifer Adams at 586-0600.

Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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