Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Howdy neighbor!

Tonight is [National] Night out in Texas.

The brackets are because its Night Out in Texas only. The rest of the country had their night out in August.

The weather here may be problematic. But bring on the rain!

Know your neighbors, prevent crime


The National Night Out gets under way tonight, with over 39 block parties scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. throughout New Braunfels.

The National Night Out, held in August in most parts of the United States but in October in Texas to avoid the August heat, seeks to bring together neighborhoods and form cohesive partnerships with fire and police departments and neighborhood organizations and residents.

More parties are expected. “People are continually registering for the event,” said Lt. Michael Penshorn of the New Braunfels Police Department.

“Police and fire officials will be visiting most if not all of the parties,” he said. Penshorn said for the parties to expect visits from the city manager, mayor, city council members, county commissioners and others. “Hopefully the weather holds out. We’re expecting a fantastic turnout.”

“We’ve been meeting with several neighborhood associations, trying to set up neighborhood watches,” Penshorn said. But neighbors only know how to look for possible crime in the neighborhood if they know one another. “National Night Out lets people go out and meet each other.”

The actual parties will be as different as the neighborhoods holding them. Some will have iced tea, some barbecue, some will bake cookies, some will play games and others will have an attendance theme.

If attending, be sure to stick with tradition and turn on your front porch light, says Ron Friesenhahn, chair of the Safe City Commission. The commission is appointed by the mayor to help coordinate efforts for neighborhood watch, as well as inform residents on how to work together to fight crime.

“The block parties exemplify the neighborhood watch program,” said Friesenhahn. “One of the interesting aspects of the block parties is that the games are crime prevention oriented.”

But games and cookies aside, the real goal is to create better communications between neighbors.

“They (the police) would much rather get a report that turns out to be nothing than a report that turns out to be a crime,” Friesenhahn said.