National Night Out – is your neighborhood having a party without you?

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Is your block having a National Night Out block party on Aug 3rd? It should!  Especially if you like to mix parties with crime prevention…a crime-prevention-party!  What could be better? 



I’ll meat you at the NNO party!


As I have mentioned in earlier posts, research suggests that your neighborhood gets safer when 1) there are more people watching the street (hopefully from a seat on their porches!) and 2) when traffic is “calmed”, or slowed down (not eliminated, which makes streets more unsafe).  However, neither of these things happens if the people on a block don’t know who each other are, and don’t have a minimal amount of social capital built up with their neighbors.


Enter: National Night Out!


National Night Out (NNO) is essentially a date set by this organization (NNO) for every neighborhood in the US to have a block party.  Parties range from some fairly tame get-togethers, to some fairly rockin’ parties, but what’s key is that the neighbors all come out and meet each other.  The National Night Out website suggests these key elements:


Cookouts


Visits from local police/sheriff


Flashlight Walks


Parades/exhibits


Contests


Youth programs


…now, I am happy to allow NNO’s website their own opinion, but I would rate one thing – cookouts – far above the rest, and one thing – flashlight walks – far below.  You are also allowed your own opinion.


Now, for those of you who were unaware of NNO’s existence before this blog post, it is something a bit different than Take Back The Night, which is also a community-led evening activity (which can involve flashlight walks) to combat crime – specifically crime against women.


As much fun as drinking and grilling food sounds, it is not a time to forget the environment.  Here is a fairly common-sense list of how you can make your block party (or even some random grilling get-together) a much more environmentally friendly engagement, not to mention a much easier one to pick up at.  For a much more ambitious game-plan, you can try here.  For Minneapolis residents looking to see if their neighborhood already has something planned, you can find your official neighborhood here. From there, google the neighborhood org, and you’ll be half-way on your way!


See you at the party!