The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

October 4, 2008

Take part in National Night Out

Published Sun., Oct. 5, 2008

Some might say true community is somewhat of a lost art, but on Tuesday Palestine residents and others throughout Texas have the opportunity to come together for the overall good of all law-abiding citizens.

The National Night Out celebration is traditionally held the first Tuesday every August in more than 11,000 communities throughout the U.S., U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world.

This year, however, for the first time, Texans got a break from the August heat as the celebration in our state got mercifully pushed back a couple of months to the first Tuesday in October.

Texas is the only state testing the new October date and, if it is a success, one would suspect that National Night Out activities in the Lone Star State could be permanently moved in an effort to produce a more comfortable evening and perhaps increase attendance.

Approximately 35 million people worldwide participated last year in National Night Out.

National Night Out not only gives neighborhoods and communities the chance to stand united against crime in their areas, but also provides the opportunity to meet and greet and develop relationships with your neighbors and others.

Part of winning the battle against crime is looking out for one another, and it certainly cannot hurt when neighbors are keeping an eye out for each other’s property and well being. Burglars and most other criminals are opportunists. When an opportunity presents itself (such as someone leaving their residence), they can be ready to seize the opportunity.

If the person three houses down and across the street, however, notices an out-of-place vehicle parked to the side of that neighbor’s house and then responds by calling law enforcement, a burglar or some other type of offender may get stopped in their tracks.

In Palestine on Tuesday, there will be multiple opportunities to attend block parties, including one scheduled to be held in the parking lot of the Museum for East Texas Culture at 400 Micheaux Ave. in Reagan Park.

Law enforcement and other emergency workers will attend some of Tuesday’s events, giving officers and local residents an opportunity to better develop community partnerships.

If you have used the “It’s too hot” reasoning to excuse yourself from participating in your neighborhood’s National Night Out activities in the past, we urge you to step outside of your comfort zone this year; enjoy a mild autumn evening; and get to know your neighbors a little better.

Without other measures and programs, National Night Out festivities may not eliminate or even significantly reduce crime in your neighborhood. However, the better-developed relationships can certainly serve to help combat crime and possibly even bring like-minded citizens together to create effective, year-round anti-crime programs.

In the long run, those partnerships could prevent you becoming a victim of crime.