Neighborhoods encourage safety

By: Lauren Weber, The Press-Tribune
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Hundreds of Roseville residents locked their doors, left their porch lights on and joined their neighbors for National Night Out Tuesday evening. Roseville, with more than 30 neighborhood associations, has been involved in the nationwide crime prevention event since its start 25 years ago, said Pam Harlan, crime prevention coordinator for the city of Roseville. “The idea is to get to know your neighbors,” Harlan said. Not just socially, but also because many crimes are solved or prevented by neighbors observing and watching out for their neighbors, she added. National Night Out is a crime and drug prevention event that involved 35 million people nationally last year. The event, held on the first Tuesday in August every year, is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and includes community involvement from all 50 states. “It’s a big deal,” Harlan said. “We look forward to it every year.” Some of the larger parks, such as Cresthaven on Community Drive, attract more than 200 residents, while smaller parks might draw 100 people. But at every park location, where the events are held, fire trucks are on-site and safety bags are handed out to children. Many neighborhood associations plan parades, games, ice cream socials, barbecues, jump houses and other social events. “It gets your neighbors out, talking to other neighbors,” said Marge Wallace, secretary with the Cresthaven Neighborhood Association in Roseville and one of the organizers for the Cresthaven Park event. Some people don’t know their neighbors, she added, and National Night Out gets people mingling. “If you have a neighborhood crisis, who do you go to?” Wallace said of people who aren’t familiar with the people who live next door to them. At James W. Wanish Park on Junction Boulevard, neighbors gathered Tuesday night, many hoping to meet fellow residents and have a good time. “I know the guy who lives next to me and that’s about it,” said Roseville resident Rex Schrader. He’s lived in Roseville for seven years and decided to join the celebration for this year’s National Night Out. Kendra Davis and her husband John had the same idea. “Meet some people and have a good time,” Kendra said their goal was for the night. Although they’ve lived in Roseville five years, this was their first National Night Out. The Foothills Junction Neighborhood Association put together the events at James W. Wanish Park Tuesday night while Target, the national sponsor for National Night Out, provided bicycles for prizes, ADT Security Systems donated the ice cream and the food for barbecuing was donated by Save Mart Supermarkets. After being dormant for years, Mike Hazen decided to reintroduce his neighborhood to the association. “It’s a good community event,” he said of National Night Out. “We’re trying to bring neighbors out.”