Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 5, 2013

Eyes and ears

Night Out forges ties between police, neighborhoods

 Even though the program has been around for nearly 30 years, the National Night Out event has never been held in Allegany County.

That will change today when Maryland State Police, in cooperation with the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, will host the county’s first-ever event from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Country Club Mall in LaVale.

National Night Out is an effort to encourage crime prevention activities and strengthen police-community cooperation. The event also is deemed as a way to let criminals know that neighborhoods are organized and ready to help police in crime prevention efforts.

The driving force behind the event is the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of various crime prevention programs, including the well-known neighborhood watch groups that depicted McGruff as the crime dog, who talked about taking a bite out of crime.  

Crime prevention activities will take place in Center Court at the mall. Police officers and the Maryland State Police Explorers will distribute public safety information, answer questions and provide suggestions on home and neighborhood crime prevention and protection. State police crime lab personnel will provide demonstrations and highlight the latest in forensic technologies.

The mall AT&T Store will offer contracts to young drivers, encouraging them to take the pledge against texting while driving by joining the “It Can Wait” campaign. Emergency vehicles will be on display in the parking area adjacent to Sears and the state police’s Trooper 5 helicopter is scheduled to land sometime after 5 p.m. for a demonstration. McGruff will make an appearance along with the Chick-Fil-A cow for photos and to promote crime prevention. A child safety seat technician will answer questions and perform safety seat inspections.

For more information, go to Facebook@National Night Out Allegany County.

Time and again we have seen the positive results a neighborhood crime watch group or the Allegany and Mineral County Crime Solvers can make in helping to prevent crime or assist police with information leading to arrests. Obviously, law enforcement officers can’t be everywhere. But they can be helped by the valuable “eyes and ears” that crime watch groups can provide. National Night Out is an ideal way to encourage more citizen assistance and awareness

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