It is not always easy for residents to find the time to get to know their neighbors.
Through National Night Out on Aug. 6 , Boulder County authorities hope to help community members break the ice and get to know one another. While it may seem simple, local officials said they believe creating these connections could be an important tool for helping to fight crime, in addition to building stronger neighborhoods.
National Night Out started in 1984. The annual event encourages neighborhoods to sign up to host block parties, cookouts, lawn games and costume contests — in the spirit of connecting with people in the community. It is also characterized with residents leaving their porch lights on throughout the night. Since its inception, National Night Out has spread to cities throughout the U.S., Canada and military bases. It involves 15,000 communities and 37 million volunteers, residents and civil servants, a news release stated.
Law enforcement officers will visit Boulder County neighborhoods that sign up to participate. While each community finds a slightly different way to celebrate, each festivity centers around fighting crime and getting to know one and another and emergency responders in a casual setting.
Neighborhoods in Boulder will host their National Night Out from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 . In addition to law enforcement personnel, city council members have also offered to visit participating neighborhoods.
Shannon Aulabaugh, public information officer for Boulder police and fire departments, said neighborhoods can put their own creative spin on the event.
“Some examples of the activities neighborhoods have come up with include a ‘marathon’ for kids in the Willow Brook neighborhood. We will have least one police officer and firefighter out on the course, lots of potlucks, lawn games and music,” Aulabaugh said.
The sign-up deadline for Boulder neighborhoods is July 25 . Applications are available on the city website by searching National Night Out. Those who do sign up can get up to $300 in reimbursement from the city for their neighborhood celebration through the Neighborhood Connection grants. For details, contact Brenda Ritenour , a neighborhood liaison. Most expenses qualify, other than alcohol or marijuana products, Ritenour said.
Aulabaugh emphasized the importance of getting to know the neighbors.
“When you know your neighbors, you tend to look out for them more,” Aulabaugh said. “It also builds a happier community and just a happier environment.”
Additionally, neighborhoods which register for National Night Out can be entered into a raffle to win a Block Party Trailer, containing games, tables and chairs and other items for community events.
Longmont will host its National Night Out from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 6 .
Like Boulder, neighborhoods across the city will host their own unique celebrations. Shadow Grass Park, 1534 Moonlight Dr., will host a large celebration. The Prospect neighborhood is hosting a pie social.
Kay Armstrong , Longmont’s manager for public safety outreach, said Longmont has participated for the past 25 years. Armstrong echoed Aulabaugh’s words and said knowing the neighbors can be a tool for combating crime.
“We are strong believer that community engagement is what prevents crime,” Armstrong said. “If neighbors are watching out for each other, they know what is suspicious.”
She added forming a connecting with a neighbor not only creates a friendlier environment, but can also be an opportunity to share contacts and encourage people to keep an eye out for one another.
First responders will also be visiting participating Longmont neighborhoods.
“Having our first responders meet and greet our residents definitely supports our community engagement efforts,” Armstrong said. “It builds a better community rapport.”
Longmont neighbors interested in signing up for National Night Out can visit LongmontColorado.gov. The Longmont deadline to sign up is Aug. 5. Longmont is not able to offer reimbursements for celebrations.
Other area National Night Out events on Aug. 6 include:
- Firestone: 6 to 8 p.m. at Settlers Park, 11447 Deerfield Dr. There will be games karaoke, inflatables and ice cream.
- Frederick neighborhoods will participate between 6 to 8 p.m.
- Lafayette neighborhoods will participate between 7 to 9 p.m.