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National night out
Community events, block parties tonight fight crime
Last years Manteca Police community event featured classic cars, emergency vehicles, food, and games. It is more of the same tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. at Giles Park adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club, 545 W. Alameda Ave.

Police consider it one of the best weapons in the fight against crime - engaged neighborhoods.

Residents knowing their neighbors well enough to know when something is amiss is the premise behind National Night Out. Law enforcement agencies across the county are encouraging neighbors to turn off the TV tonight and gather in front yards and in block parties to get to know each other as part of an effort to strengthen communities’ ability to fight crime.

The cities of Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop are going one step further with each planning free community events in addition to neighborhood block parties.

•MANTECA: Manteca Police have organized a community event that evening at Charlie and Bobette Giles Park adjacent to the Manteca Boys & Girls Club at 545 W. Alameda St. from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight. The event will include booths, games, and food. Emergency vehicles and officers will also be on hand.

•RIPON: Ripon Police are hosting a free National Night Out party tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Community Center, 334 W. Center St. It will include free hot dogs as well as lots of family activities, games, and music.

•LATHROP: The City of Lathrop will be celebrating National Night Out with its fifth annual party in the City Hall parking lot starting at 5 p.m.

The community gatherings are in addition to more than 100 neighborhood block parties planned in the three cities.

There have been numerous instances in the past year where an alert Neighborhood Watch member has deterred crime and even helped police catch criminals in the act.

“National Night Out has proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer Manteca,” noted Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker earlier this year. “The benefits your community will derive from (National Night Out) will most certainly extend beyond the one night.”

National Night Out is designed to:

•heighten crime and drug prevention awareness.

•generate support for - and participation in - local crime fighting efforts.

•strengthen neighborhood relationships and community partnerships with the police.

‘•send a message to criminals to let them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Those who have organized and registered BBQs and gathering tonight in Manteca will have visits from various public safety groups. That included the Manteca Police canine unit, SWAT, gang unit, mounted patrol, motorcycles, chaplains, Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police, and patrol officers along with firefighters and City Council members.