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Register your party for National Night Out

By chirst
Aug. 22, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.

How to register a block party

Call the crime prevention unit at 361-485-3808

Schedule of events

Sept. 19: Deadline to register a party Sept. 22: National Night Out kick-off party When: Noon to 3 p.m.

Where: Victoria Mall

Oct. 2: National Night Out

National Night facts

Last year, National Night Out was in more than 15,000 communities in all 50 states. In all, more than 37 million people participated in 2011. The purpose of National Night Out is to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. Source: National Association of Town Watch

With National Night Out just around the corner, the Victoria Police Department is urging residents to register their block parties now.

"That is the one time of the year the police department is like, 'Go out and party it up.' And we want to come," Officer Chris Guerra, of the department's crime prevention unit, said laughing.

Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, National Night Out is meant to strengthen community-police relationships and fight crime.

"We want to have a good time with the kids, answer people's questions," Guerra said. "It is one of the only times they can hang out with cops and firemen, and just kind of see that we are normal people."

Since National Night Out is made up of block parties held throughout the city, Guerra said residents need to start planning their parties now. The deadline to register is Sept. 19.

Russell Drane, in the 100 block of Larimore Street, will host his third party this year.

"We were new to the neighborhood ... and we just wanted to get the neighborhood together," Drane said "They all come down, bring a side dish and we sit out and party all night. The fire trucks come, the police come, everybody comes."

Drane said they had between 50-70 people come to their driveway last year for the party and said it has grown each year. He is already registered for this year's event.

Guerra said the parties can be as extravagant or as minimal as desired, with some residents getting permits to close off streets and hiring bands.

"Go check it out, get to know your neighbors. Because that is what this is all about, getting to know your neighbors and bringing back that sense of community," Guerra said.



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