National Observances & Safety Programs

The History of National Night Out

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You may already know about National Night Out or you may have participated in the annual community building campaign in your own hometown or city, but do you know how it all got started? This yearly observance in which police and community members work together to ensure the safety of their neighborhoods hasn’t actually been around for very long. In fact, it’s only been 31 years since the very first National Night Out.

The first National Night Out event was established in 1984 by Matt Peskin, the executive director of the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). Though the NATW had been making strides in developing police-community partnerships for the betterment of every neighborhood, Peskin believed that a high-profile annual event would heighten awareness of the NATWs work, increase participation in anti-crime efforts and help further unite police and community members under this important cause.

400 communities and 23 states participated in National Night Out the first year it was held and by 2001 involvement had grown to include 9,700 communities and all 50 states. Today, more than 16,000 communities and 38 million individuals participate in this incredible annual event, occurring the first Tuesday of every August.

It’s no wonder that National Night Out has gained in popularity so rapidly when you consider what the event has allowed citizens and police to achieve together. Through camaraderie, understanding and awareness the campaign has made it possible for officers and neighbors alike to stand up for their safe towns and fight against drugs and crime peacefully.

Aside from various safety demonstrations, youth safety events and emergency seminars held during National Night Out, neighborhoods also play host to block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and many other outdoor events. It’s a way for them to show would-be offenders that there is no room for crime in their safe communities.

Over the years, one tradition, in particular, has endured. The Lights On Campaign encourages citizens in every town or city to turn on their porch lights, lock their doors and spend the evening outside with their neighbors. This is not only a strong show of solidarity, but an excellent opportunity for neighbors to become acquainted and enhance their shared interest in a safe community.

If you’d like to participate in National Night Out for the first time or if you’re an old hand just getting ready for another annual event, Foremost Promotions can help you get started. Our National August Night specialty store is brimming with products that can help you get the word out about anti-crime efforts in your neighborhood. We have years of experience helping police organizations, neighborhood watch groups and concerned civilians get geared up for National Night Out, and we want to help you as well. Browse our products online, or call us at 800.431.3473 for more information today.

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