Maple Grove residents will take a stand against crime, along with their neighbors, during National Night Out Tuesday, Aug. 2.
National Night Out (NNO) is a national program promoting neighborhood awareness, safety and a sense of community for more than 25 years.
According to the national website, the program is designed to, “Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back."
The National Night Out kick off starts in Maple Grove 11 a.m. to 1 p.m Tuesday, Aug. 2 . at the Maple Grove .
Events continue the evening of Aug. 2 in 132 Maple Grove neighborhoods who gather to share stories, potlucks, barbecues and togetherness.
“The level of participation is overwhelming and shows that helping each other is not just a one night event, but just what we do in Maple Grove,” Maple Grove Crime Prevention Officer Todd Strege said.
Strege is leading the charge for this year’s event and works with Maple Grove neighborhood coordinators. Each neighborhood block party receives a special visit from a Maple Grove City representative ranging from the Maple Grove Fire Department to the Mayor to McGruff the Crime Dog. Block parties across the city range from a pig roast, pool party or a small group of neighbors having a barbecue to get to know one another.
"Kids are especially excited about a visit from the , complete with all the bells and whistles,” Strege said.
“Last year, Maple Grove placed fourth in the nation for our National Night Out campaign and we may break the record in this year’s event,” Strege said.
Bob Munson has been a Neighborhood Event Coordinator for 10 years, organizing the block party for all of the Rice Lake Courtyards and Heights neighbors consisting of 40 housing units. The Rice Lake neighborhood has extended their National Night Out to more than a yearly gathering by adding a monthly breakfast to keep the neighborhood informed.
Up until 2006 Munson was the Red Cross Director of Emergency Services and he is keenly aware of neighborhood safety issues and the importance of community.
“It is very comforting to know someone is watching out for you and ready to lend a helping hand,” Munson said.
Regardless of neighborhood party size, the end result of National Night Out creates an environment to get to know your neighbors, which is an important tool in reducing crime in Maple Grove.
"By paying attention to the people and things in your surroundings you are more capable of picking out what doesn’t belong,” Strege said.
Looking for details for the community celebration Maple Grove National Night Out 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2? Check out the Maple Grove Patch events calendar here at: http://patch.com/E-fKBD
Questions about National Night Out? Contact Maple Grove Crime Prevention Officer Todd Strege at 763-494-6134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.