Rockingham is gearing up for its annual National Night Out tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cole Plaza in Rockingham, presented by the Rockingham Police Department.
The purpose of this community-building campaign is to heighten crime prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police/community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are fighting back, law enforcement officials said.
Cole Plaza is located between the library and City Hall, at 514 Rockingham Road.
“The event will take place rain or shine, in conjunction with the 29th Annual National Night Out, taking place in communities across the country,” said Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly. “We usually have 300 to 400 people come out for the event.”
It was estimated that about 37 million people, in 15,325 communities, participated in last year’s anti-crime event from coast to coast.
The band Almost Perfect will be performing in Rockingham, and other activities are planned as well.
“We’ll have law enforcement officers in a dunking booth, and we will be making fingerprint identification cards for children,” said Kelly.
Vince and Larry, the crash test dummies, will be on site. Food vendors will be selling items like funnel cakes and hot dogs.
“We’ll have fun activities for kids, like face painting, a bounce house, bounce slide, sports challenge and a rock climbing wall set up as well,” said Kim Williams, events coordinator for the city.
Events such as this serve to bridge law enforcement with the community, but also to show neighbors what kind of services are available.
Folks across the country have been organizing their own National Night Out parties through a social networking site called Nextdoor, a free and private social network for neighborhoods. Nextdoor is helping residents plan events and come together, in hopes of building stronger, safer and happier neighborhoods all year long.
“Like National Night Out, Nextdoor’s mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood. Neighborhood spirit is a powerful weapon in our fight for a safer nation,” said Nirav Tolia, CEO and Co-founder of Nextdoor.
When neighbors know each other they are more watchful, but unfortunately one out of three Americans don’t even know their neighbors’ names, according to Pew Research. Nextdoor and National Night Out were created to address such an issue.
“When neighbors connect, good things happen. More specifically, neighbors who get to know each other, look out for each other,” said Tolia.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.