STOCKTON — The Stockton Police Department is hoping at least 100 block parties will be registered for this year’s National Night Out event in an effort to garner national recognition for the city.
As of Friday morning, there were 62 gatherings registered for the Aug. 7 event, according to Lt. Augustin Telly. The deadline to register a gathering for National Night Out is 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Last year, there were 91 gatherings in Stockton.
In the National Night Out Awards Competition conducted after the first Tuesday in August, Stockton ranked ninth last year for cities with populations of more than 300,000 for the most gatherings registered.
In 2016, the city had 90 gatherings and ranked 12th in the same competition.
Telly said more emphasis is being placed on creating a synergy with the groups who register parties in an effort to bring the department and community together.
One of the ways the department is doing that is through an NNO back-to-school backpack drive on July 26.
Those who have registered their gatherings can go to the Walmart Supercenter at 3223 Hammer Lane or 10355 Trinity Parkway, or the Dollar Tree at 678 N. Wilson Way between 10:30 a.m. and noon that day and drop off two backpacks full of school supplies in exchange for an NNO party pack with stickers, shirts and banners for the Aug. 7 event.
Some of the larger gatherings around Stockton are hosted by the Downtown Stockton Alliance at the Janet Leigh Plaza, which last year attracted 400 guests, as well as by the Community Partnership for Families, which attracted 500 guests at the Dorothy L. Jones Family Resource Center last year.
A gathering hosted by the Twin Creeks Homeowners Association attracted 350 people, Telly said.
“It’s a really good night,” Telly said. “We take pride that in the last two years, with every group that registers a gathering, we will make sure a law enforcement official will attend their party at some point in the evening.”
Visits from law enforcement representatives can include appearances by a K-9 unit, the motor unit and the equestrian officer at some of the gatherings, Telly said.
The Mobile City Hall will also make the rounds that night, he said.
The National Association of Town Watch created the NNO event in 1984, when 2.5 million neighbors in 400 communities throughout 23 states established block parties on the first Tuesday night in August.
The purpose was to build partnerships with police departments and the communities they serve to make neighborhoods safer.
Neighborhoods across the country have hosted block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, exhibits and law enforcement visits, among other features.
According to natw.org, 38 million neighbors in 16,000 communities across the nation take part in National Night Out.
“It’s just a great way to get the community together, and get people out in the street sharing time together,” Telly said. “We just want to create a synergy with residents that lets everyone know Stockton is a great place to be.”
For more information about the evening, or to register an NNO event, contact Community Resource Officer Andrea Castro at email@example.com, or call her at (209) 937-5479.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WesBo26.