“National Night Out” in the Bay Area

A neighborhood block party that will be held throughout the Bay  Area Tuesday aims to promote safety, community networking, and police  relations at the 30th annual "National Night Out."

Many Bay Area residents will participate in the evening outdoors  along with thousands of communities nationwide. The event will connect  neighbors and community members, including law enforcement and other  agencies, starting around 5:30 p.m.

The idea behind the block parties is that communities that know  and are familiar with each other are safer and better equipped to fight  crime.

This message hopes to rings loud and clear in Oakland where a  massive block party is planned for residents to meet neighbors, city  officials, law enforcement and enjoy food and music.
One of more than 100 events throughout the city will be held at  the parking lot outside of Safe Storage at 2783 E. 12th St. where Oakland  Mayor Jean Quan, city councilman Noel Gallo, BART police Chief Ben Fairow,  Oakland police Captain S. Tull and Oakland firefighters are among the local  leaders expected to attend.

Safe Storage manager Chantha Hack said the storage business serves  as a community center and has hosted the "National Night Out" event for the  past seven years.

She said residents and businesses within a three-mile radius in the  Fruitvale neighborhood were contacted to participate in the event.

A new senior housing center near the BART station will bring in  some residents, and nearby Oakland public schools are also involved in the  night.

As part of the community building, a 75-year-old Elvis impersonator will perform, along with a group of children dancing and  entertaining the crowd.
"The whole point of it is to get the neighbors to communicate,"  she said.

In a neighborhood where there are some 15 different languages  spoken, she said, the event offers a way for neighbors to connect, share  contact information and get to know their local resources.
An open mic at the end of the night will give attendees an  opportunity to share thoughts about the neighborhood, worries about crime and  ideas to improve the area, Hack said.

At the block party there will be a jump house, balloons, face  painting, a piqata and other family fun.

More than 155 parties were hosted throughout the city last year.

  • Each San Francisco police station will hold an event for "National  Night Out."

Each of the 11 districts will hold community events, including  three gatherings in the Bayview District at Mendell Plaza, at Third Street  and Oakdale Avenue and at Youngblood Coleman playground.
The police chief will stop by various events, a police spokesman  said.

  • In Redwood City the night out to fight crime will be held at  Courthouse Square in downtown Redwood City starting at 6 p.m. The night's festivities include free fingerprinting for children,  music, disaster preparedness information and other safety booths, a bike  raffle and public safety vehicles on display.
  • San Mateo police had more than 50 block parties last year, and  expects to host a similar number of events this year, police said.
  • Belmont police will be checking in at nine neighborhoods and  locations where residents will get outdoors and gather together. The theme  for this year's event is "See Something, Say Something." Other city agencies will be on hand to speak with residents,  including the Public Works and Public Safety departments, organizers said.
  • Novato police and firefighters are teaming up in the North Bay to  visit communities who are getting to know their neighbors. Events are planned  elsewhere in the area, including at the Yountville Community Center, and in  Rohnert Park and Napa.
  • Newark police are going all out in the name of public safety with  a root beer social at the Silliman Center, located at 6800 Mowry Ave., and a  jazz band performing at the Newark Public Library, located at 5300 Civic  Terrace Ave.

There will be more than 20 events in various neighborhoods that  "have come together," according to Donna Shern, Newark police community  engagement manager.

Each neighborhood is expected to plan something different -- some  with potlucks, others with outdoor cookouts.

Patrol officers along with other public safety officials will be  out in the dozens of neighborhoods, she said.

Shern said the night is about community building.

"We're encouraging people in the neighborhoods to get to know each  other and take a stand against crime," she said.

This year is poised to be the busiest year yet and the police  chief will be making his rounds in the city, she said. 

More information about "National Night Out" is available at  www.natw.org.

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