Daily Herald opinion: National Night Out a fun way to promote neighborhood unity
National Night Out a fun way to promote neighborhood unity
You can live on the same suburban street for years and never get to know your neighbors.
Sure, folks wave or say hello to each other now and then.
But it's easy to drive home from work, pull into the garage and close the door behind us.
National Night Out is an opportunity to change that.
The annual summer event encourages people to go outside and mingle with their neighbors and first responders.
Tonight, communities across the Chicago area will host National Night Out events.
There will be food and drinks, games, safety demonstrations and other family-friendly activities. It's worth checking out.
The National Night Out website describes the event as a "campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live."
The National Association of Town Watch launched the annual observance in the 1980s as an anti-crime campaign to get people to turn on their porch lights, lock their doors and meet with neighbors, police officers and firefighters on the first Tuesday in August.
This year, roughly 130 municipalities in Illinois are participating in National Night Out. And each town celebrates a little differently.
Des Plaines has planned various activities, including a police dog demonstration and police station tours. Buffalo Grove's event will include live music.
In Naperville, more than 40 neighborhoods signed up to host National Night Out events.
Police, fire and other city officials will visit as many of those gatherings as possible.
Still, the goal in all the participating communities is the same: to heighten crime prevention awareness and strengthen the bond between communities and their first responders.
Interacting with first responders is a significant part of National Night Out.
Many of us rarely get the chance to spend time with cops or firefighters. These festival-like events are a great way to meet these public servants and establish a positive relationship with them.
If your town celebrates National Night Out, we urge you to take advantage of it. And if your community isn't participating, you still should get out and meet with some neighbors.
We all want our neighborhoods to be happy and safe.
To do our part, we must take the time to know those who live around us.