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.