OCEAN CITY — Like citizens in similar communities all over the country, local residents and visitors next week will have the opportunity to put aside fear and suspicion for at least one day and get out in their neighborhoods to enjoy “National Night Out,” a decades-old event that perhaps has more meaning this year than ever.
Residents in communities all over the shore and across the country are encouraged next Tuesday to unlock their doors, turn on their outside lights and get out in their communities to meet their neighbors and the law enforcement officers and other agencies that protect them in an informal setting. National Night Out has been held on the first Tuesday of August since 1984 and is now celebrated in over 16,000 communities across the nation.
The recurring theme has always been creating community bonds, meeting neighbors one otherwise passes leaving or coming home from work, interacting with and learning about representatives from the various programs in available including healthcare and social services, and perhaps most importantly, getting to know the police and first-responders who protect them. The National Night Out program is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen neighborhood spirit, foster an improved relationship between the community and its police force, and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organizing and fighting back.