It’s an event that brings residents, police, and civic officials together to celebrate the spirit of community.
And the effects, according to Lathrop Police Services Deputy Steven Baxter, stretch out much further than the one night of food and fun that is a tradition in many Lathrop neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, Aug. 2, homeowners in Lathrop will break out the barbecues and the lawn chairs and gather formally to represent the fact that they’re standing united against crime – building the bonds as neighbors that help keep those who might have ill intentions away.
According to Baxter, the bulk of the city’s new Neighborhood Watch groups are born out of relationships formed on National Night Out, and it helps to bridge the gap between those who are paid to keep the city safe and those who want to do everything possible to keep their city safe for the sake of their children and their families.
“It’s a night to get out and meet our community members and let people get the chance to know us in a more informal setting,” Baxter said. “We encourage people to join Neighborhood Watch groups and to get involved wherever they can because this is their community, and National Night Out is the perfect chance for people to take those first steps.”
And it’s a group effort.
While Lathrop Police Services will be out in full force, so will the Lathrop Manteca Fire Department, Lathrop Animal Services, the Lathrop Parks and Recreation Department, the Lathrop City Council and various administrative city staffers – spreading out to visit as many of the block parties set up by neighbors as possible.
They come not as those in positions of power, but those who work in the growing community and share the same goals as the residents who have chose to make their life there – preserving public safety and fostering a sense of unity that only events like National Night Out can cultivate.
“It lets people know who their first responders are and lets them know who’s coming when and if they ever have to call us,” Baxter said. “It shows that we care and we’re in the community and it’s a chance to make the first meeting a friendly one rather than in a crisis later on. And it’s popular not just with people who host these every year, but also with new people who are moving into the community and are looking for an opportunity to get to know their neighbors and the people that have been here for a while.
“There are a lot of groups in Lathrop that do this every year and compete against each other for an award that we give out after everything is wrapped up. People area always moving out and moving in, so it’s a chance to get to know the new residents as well as catch up with those that we’ve gotten to know over the years.”
For more information about how to register a block party with Lathrop Police Services, call 209.858.5551.