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Kickoff party for National Night Out draws more than 1,000

By chirst
Sept. 22, 2012 at 4:22 a.m.
Updated Sept. 23, 2012 at 4:23 a.m.

Nariah Garza, 7, records video of the Victoria Karate Academy performance at the Victoria Mall.

National Night Out

• WHEN: Oct. 2

•  WHERE: Call the crime prevention unit, 361-485-3808, to find a block party in your area.

•  TIME: Each block party will vary. Call the crime prevention unit for more information.

•  COST: free

More than 1,000 people attended the National Night Out Kickoff Party on Saturday at Victoria Mall.

Chris Guerra, crime prevention officer, said the event was the largest kickoff event that Victoria has had.

"Our goal was to provide enough entertainment so that people would stay the entire time, and we have done that," he said. "Hopefully, it will encourage people to either have or go to a block party."

National Night Out has doubled in Victoria in the past four years, Guerra said, and the department is having to pull personnel from every department to attend the parties currently registered.

Still, he said, even though the deadline to register a block party was Sept. 19, the officers will do their best to attend every party, even those registered after the deadline.

So far, Guerra said he has registered 41 parties in Victoria.

An additional five parties have been registered in Victoria County, according to Sgt. Daniel Simons, of the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.

The kickoff party included performances from the Victoria Karate Academy, Victoria Gymagic cheerleaders and gymnasts, Air Force Junior ROTC and the United States Marine Corps MMA Team.

Dolores Alvarado, of Victoria, was at the party to see her granddaughter perform, but said she is now considering going to a block party for National Night Out on Oct. 2. She said the police department has done a good job promoting the event.

"The performances keep everyone entertained," she said. "I think it (National Night Out) is interesting and good because there needs to be more involvement with the community."

Booths - with information from how to prevent wildfires to information about VIN etching - surrounded the show and included the Texas Forest Service, Victoria Police Department, Target and H-E-B.

Paula Thompson, of Victoria, said she has heard of National Night Out and was reminded about the event.

She said she planned to get a list of the block parties.

"I haven't been able to attend them, but this year I think I can," she said.

Victoria Fire Chief Taner Drake, Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor and Assistant Police Chief Roy Boyd all spoke at the opening ceremonies.

Guerra said members of the fire department, sherrif's office and police department will be at the block parties.

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