Alabama cities hosted the 22nd annual National Night Out on August 2 to heighten awareness of crime and drug use prevention, the Montgomery Advertiser reported on August 1.
Approximately 25 cities in the Montgomery County and surrounding areas participated in the event to encourage community cooperation and unity, generate participation in anti-crime and anti-drug programs, and let young people at risk of unhealthy or unsafe behaviors know that there are positive programs available to them.
“We do this mainly to make people aware of the neighborhood association,” said Guy Wallace of the Vaughn Meadows Neighborhood Association, which has participated for two years in the Night Out event. The gatherings allow neighbors to share information about problems in the community and get to know each other better.
“They are planning everything from prayer meetings to cookouts and block parties,” said Lt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman. “It is actually the resurgence of the neighborhood watch associations that has deterred crime in some cases.”
Residents of participating communities feel the event has helped improve neighborhood attitudes.
“I think it does a lot of good,” said Carol Coker, coordinator of the Grove Hill Estates Neighborhood Association, which has participated in the Night Out program for seven years. “You can tell your neighbors to walk around and talk to one another, but everyone's life is so hectic. When it is actually a named event, they know that's the night that [the association] wants everyone out and talking.”