It used to be that people saw their neighbors daily, and anything mildly out of place on a given residential street would be spotted and called in immediately.
But in a day and age when most people spend the week either working or driving to or from work and bedroom communities have taken over, that isn’t always possible.
Enter National Night Out.
The annual community gathering aimed at uniting residents and neighbors under the common goal of stamping out crime – which takes place this year on Tuesday, August 7 – has become a night dedicated towards uniting neighbors, residents and friends and preserving the neighborhood spirit that makes it harder for criminals to succeed at taking advantage of law-abiding citizens.
And it also gives residents a chance to know their local law enforcement officers and first responders, and bridge the gap to help aid in pursuing the same goal.
“The whole purpose is obviously to get to know your neighbors and build that network,” said Lathrop Police Services’ Community Resource Officer Jefferson Dominguez. “It also fosters that relationship between us and the community that we serve. It illustrates that we support them and they support us, and that leads to mutual understanding and support.
“Throughout the year I’m able to go to different events, and you see that relationship get stronger and stronger – they do see us at these events, and they make reference to the fact that they met us at National Night Out, and that builds an even stronger bond.”
There are currently 11 block parties scheduled for August 7, each set to begin around 6:30 p.m. and continue until roughly 10 p.m. According to Dominguez, Lathrop Police Services will be working with the Lathrop Manteca Fire District, Lathrop Animal Services, and the Lathrop Parks and Recreation Department to convoy out to as many of the sites as possible.
Representatives from the City of Lathrop – including city staffers and members of the Lathrop City Council – will also be making appearances at some of the registered locations.
While there are some concentrated “block parties” – like the fusing together of several Neighborhood Watch groups in River Islands to create one huge party for all of the residents of the master planned community – the majority are still small neighborhood gatherings, some of which have been going on for years.
On Mingo Way, in Historic Lathrop, people like Michele Anderson say they look forward to the event every year as a chance to get neighbors together and mingle with first responders who protect the community.
“I love getting together with my neighbors for a fun night of visiting,” said Anderson, who also organizes an annual appreciation day for first responders. “Most of the block commutes, so we don’t always see each other.
“And my neighbors love the chance to chat and visit with our first responders.”
Anyone interested in registering their block party can do so by emailing Dominguez at email@example.com, or by calling him at 209.647.6715.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.