Police to participate in National Night Out Against Crime

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The annual National Night Out Against Crime will take place Tuesday night. Communities across the country will participate in the event -- including here in Utah. It's a way for these communities to fight against crime by getting to know their neighbors.

National Night Out 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.

"Our neighborhoods are organized and they are fighting back," says Detective Dennis McGowan with the Salt Lake City Police Department. That's the message police want to send to criminals during the annual Night Out.

The National Association of Town Watch started the program 27 years ago to heighten crime prevention awareness and to strengthen police-community partnerships.

Block parties in Tuesday night in Provo, West Valley City and Salt Lake City will help neighbors get to know one another and the officers that patrol their neighborhoods. The Salt Lake City Police Department will support a variety of community events during the Night Out Against Crime. Officers from a variety of units -- including SWAT, K-9, motors and bike patrol -- will attend parades, block parties and cookouts hosted by community councils.

Police say communities generally have lower crime rates when neighbors look out for each other, and Salt Lake police also say 'Night Out' makes it easier for neighbors to report crime to law enforcement.

Community Events
Residents can join the events taking place Tuesday night at the following Salt Lake City locations:
  • 1100 N. 2000 W.
  • 1313 W. California Avenue
  • 1409 E. Butler Avenue
  • 2200 E. Roosevelt Avenue
  • 1185 S. Windsor
  • 1033 S. Lake Street
  • 200-300 E. Hampton Avenue
  • 200 N. Geneva Road

"The more we interact with them, the easier and more relaxed they are going to be communicate with police and tell police what's going on," said McGowan.

West Valley City police say people in the community can often help officers, since they can't be everywhere at once.

"It's very important that people watch out for each other and be our extra set of eyes and ears," said Capt. Anita Schwemmer with the West Valley City Police Department. She says crime is lower in neighborhoods where people know each other.

Police also have better success solving crimes -- sometimes even stopping the crime altogether.

"We have had several residential burglaries where neighbors have seen someone they didn't recognize entering a neighbor's home and called us, and we've been able to catch the suspects in the act, so to speak," said Schwemmer.

Police say this year, there's one particular kind of crime that worries people the most. Schwemmer says a lot of people want to know how to keep their homes and cars safe, but the biggest concern is protecting themselves.

"We have been talking a lot about identity theft, that seems to be a hot topic with most people," says Schwemmer.

For more information on National Night Out Against Crime, CLICK HERE.

E-Mail: aforester@ksl.com

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