BUCYRUS — It’s that time of year again when neighbors across the county will get together in honor of National Night Out.
The national event began in 1984 with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) through the U.S. Department of Justice. The program is administered by the National Association of Town Watch, which is a nationwide organization that helps with the development, protection and maintenance of community crime prevention activities and programs.
This year’s National Night Out will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday with block parties being hosted in various neighborhoods throughout the county.
Bucyrus Police Department dispatcher Jennifer Gerger is helping coordinate the block parties in Bucyrus this year.
“We are having 20 block parties this year, which is up four from last year and we are very excited about that,” Gerger said.
Gerger said National Night Out is a vehicle for officers to meet with the public and for neighbors to get to know one another.
“It is so important to get to know your neighbors. Neighbors that watch out for each other’s properties help us immensely in reporting crime,” Gerger said.
Gerger said there are now 18 neighborhood watch group across the city and several of those came out of the National Night Out parties.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s office will also be participating in this year’s National Night Out.
Sheriff Scott Kent said he would like to see, and encourages, residents to participate in having a neighborhood get-together or party.
“It’s nice to see neighbors coming together to share each other’s company, cook out, kids playing and just having a quite enjoyable evening. Communication with all your neighbors will help law enforcement clamp down on criminal activity and create a stronger, healthier community,” Kent said.
Kent said the event provides a time for law enforcement officers to stop by and meet everyone at the gatherings, speak with residents and answer any questions the community they may have.
“Crawford County Deputies enjoy meeting the residents at each party and making contact with the residents. The Sheriff’s Office has some supplies and children’s gifts to have out as well,” said Kent.
The Neighborhood Churches group will host a block party for the public on Woodlawn Avenue between Walnut and Lane Streets during National Night Out.
According to a press release from the group, young and young-at-heart can enjoy free food, beverages, games and prizes, balloons, a cake walk and a chance to get to know people from our community. There will also be face painting and music by Sonix Soundz DJ Service and parking is available at the Bucyrus UMC Outreach Center at 216 Hopley Ave., and next to the elementary school.
Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield said his department is not participating in the event this year.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras