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Gearing up for NNO
Criminals beware – the community is fighting back!
That is the message being sent by the 25th annual National Night Out, an event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), which is taking place in cities across the country on Aug. 5, from 6-10 p.m.
Designed to promote partnerships between citizens and their police departments, the event will also heighten awareness of drugs, violence and crime; generate support for anti-crime efforts and build unity within neighborhoods.
The Columbus Division of Police is again partnering with NATW to bring this event to various neighborhoods and communities within the city.
NATW is a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of crime. They work with community-driven organizations across the country, including block watches, civic organizations, crime watch groups and local law enforcement.
Since it’s inception in 1981, NATW has grown to include over 6,000 organizations.
During the event, residents are encouraged to practice nighttime safety by going outside, locking their doors, turning on the lights and spending the evening outside with neighbors.
According to the Columbus Division of Police, one of the most effective ways to prevent crime is to work with those living and working in your community proactively to make a difference.
Several local neighborhood organizations will host NNO events, such as parades, block parties, cookouts, prizes, gifts, children’s activities and visits from police officers and fire fighters.
Westbrook Eastfield Neighborhood Association
This annual event gets bigger every year and this year is no exception.
Along with the fun, games, food and prizes that visitors can expect each year, the WENA event will also host a fire truck from the Franklin Township Fire Department, along with a traveling smoke house.
New to the festivities this year is a 40-foot health trailer provided by Mount Carmel. The trailer is expected to arrive at 5 p.m., an hour before the start time of the Westbrook Eastfield event. It will be used to give immunizations to children, take the blood pressure of adults and other simple medical procedures.
While this event may be high in numbers of activities, they have equally low numbers of volunteers.
Juanita Kaufman, the association’s NNO chair, has said that although setup begins at 9 a.m., what is most needed is volunteers for last-minute setups, around 5 p.m.
The event will take place at Finland Elementary School, 1835 Finland Ave., from 6-10 p.m.
Great Western Blockwatch and Civic Association
The Great Western Blockwatch and Civic Association will host their annual National Night Out Against Crime Picnic this year with a new twist.
Forgoing the usual meal of hot dogs generally offered at these types of events, they will offer pizza this year, donated by Minelli’s and Josie’s, both of the Westside.
“We’re trying to stand out from the crowd,” said jay McCallister, coordinator of the GWB.
They will also hold a free raffle, with several prizes to be given away, all donated from local businesses.
Also in attendance will be Columbus Division of Police Mounted Patrol and K-9 Unit, along with the Columbus Division of Fire’s safe house and Engine 17.
According to McCallister, children will be allowed to climb inside of Engine 17, so parents should bring cameras and get pictures of their children in the driver’s seat.
Events will be held at Hoge Memorial Church, 2930 West Broad St., at 6 p.m.
Ogden Avenue Blockwatch
The Ogden Avenue Blockwatch will host their fourth annual NNO event, which will feature a “neighbor know neighbor” game.
The game will require each participant, aged 16 and older, to gather the names of 10 neighbors during the course of the evening. A grand prize of a six-month membership to the Hilltop YMCA will be awarded to the winner.
According to Justin Boggs, a coordinator of the Ogden Avenue Blockwatch, the purpose of the game is to build trust with each other and law enforcement. Elected officials will also be on hand to discuss local issues.
Other activities for the event include an animal presentation from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, a ladder from the Columbus Division of Fire, activities sponsored by the Columbus Division of Police, games, karaoke and hands-on demonstrations with COSI.
The event will take place from 5:30-9 p.m. and will be located on South Ogden Avenue, just north of West Mound Street.
The National Crime Prevention Council has provided the following list of items that can be done to reduce criminal activity, drugs and violence in neighborhoods across America:
•Work with public agencies and organizations on solving problems.
•Ensure that neighborhood youth have positive ways to spend their time.
•Set up a neighborhood watch or community patrol with the police.
•Take advantage of “safety in numbers.” Hold rallies, marches and other activities to show you’re determined to drive out crime.
•Clean up graffiti! Graffiti tells criminals you don’t care about where you live. Call 3-1-1 or the appropriate city department to ask for assistance.
•Ask local officials for help. This includes reinforcing anti-noise laws, housing codes, health and fire codes, anti-nuisance laws and drug-free clauses in rental leases.
•Form a court watch to help support victims and witnesses and to see that criminals are fairly punished.
•Work with schools and recreational facilities to establish gun-free zones.
For more information or to start a Neighborhood Blockwatch in your community, contact the Strategic Response Bureau of the Columbus Division of Police at 645-4610.
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