I am taking a break from blog posts of ghastly length and inordinate self-absorption because today is National Night Out (NNO) and I’m my neighborhood’s NNO organizer this year.
National Night Out is an annual event, held on the first Tuesday in August, designed to strengthen communities by encouraging neighborhoods to engage in stronger relationships with each other and with their local law enforcement partners. The goal is to heighten crime-prevention awareness, build support and participation in local anti-crime programs, and most importantly, send a message that our neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
In Durham, about 90 neighborhoods have signed up to participate. Police officers are scheduled to drop by as many of the neighborhood events as possible. In our case, Morehead Hill used to have an annual potluck and we’ve folded that tradition into the annual NNO event. Other neighborhoods will have ice cream socials, games, music, and so on.
When I researched my master’s paper, one interesting tidbidlet I noted from a criminal justice study was that one way to reduce crime in the community was to have a neighborhood get-together at least once a year. That face-to-face social time was enough for neighbors to meet and recognize each other, refresh connections, and so on. There’s something about actually seeing people, getting to know the “regulars,” that helps everyone.
The study also noted the interesting fact that meeting more often than once a year did not significantly reduce crime in the neighborhood. It’s a small investment of time and energy that has the potential to yield outsized results.
I could easily extend this post to details of how I’m treating this year’s event differently from last year, working with volunteers, and the kind of volunteer job I realized I’m best suited for — we may even get rained out tonight! How am I coping with that?!?– but I shall reserve those details for a later post of ghastly length and inordinate self-absorption.