On Tuesday, Aug. 1, the city of Akron will host the 34th Annual National Night Out, a unique event celebrating the importance of crime- and drug abuse-prevention and neighborhood-level engagement in our city.
This year’s local theme is “A Violence–Free Community.” National Night Out (NNO) is an annual community-building campaign, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, that promotes police-community relations and neighborhood unity, in an effort to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.
The goal of National Night Out is to bring back a true sense of community while strengthening participation in local programs that prevent and deter crime. “This event is a welcome opportunity for our law enforcement officers to interact with neighbors under positive circumstances,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “Like all communities, our city suffers from the ripple effects of crime and drug addiction. It is essential that we send a strong signal that our neighborhoods are united and that we are fighting back.”
“The long-term safety and security of our neighborhoods is a community-wide effort, dependent on both law enforcement and the residents we serve. Neither can truly succeed without the cooperation and respect of the other,” Horrigan continued. “This event is designed to strengthen ties between law enforcement, civic/religious groups, and neighbors by conquering the culture of fear, misunderstanding and isolation that crime can create and replacing it with a sense of camaraderie, hope, and community.”
The NNO campaign involves citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic/religious groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials. In all, more than 38 million people are expected to participate in America’s Night Out Against Crime in more than 16,000 communities across all 50 states and beyond. Local sponsors include the Akron Rubber Ducks, who will use Canal Park Stadium as an NNO location.
“The NNO program has deep roots in the Akron community,” said Billy Soule, assistant to the Mayor for Community Relations. The NNO began in 1983, and the first NNO event in Akron took place in 1984 in East Akron. In 1985, a second site was added in West Akron. “Since then, sites have been added each year throughout the city,” said Soule. “Today, with a total of 15 sites, and more than 60 community partners, Akron has the most coordinated NNO events of any city in Ohio.”
The Aug. 1 NNO events start as early as 5 p.m. and run as late as 9 p.m. All Akron sites will provide information on safety, health and other issues of concern, and most sites will also feature music, games and free food and refreshments.
City of Akron anti-crime signs and You and the Law cards with information about interacting with law enforcement will be available at all locations along with Block Watch sign-up opportunities and information. The Akron PeaceMakers, a City-run civic youth organization, will assist at all sites and will engage with youth attending the event.
A full list of 2017 NNO sites and hours is available here.
For community inquiries regarding Akron’s National Night Out campaign, contact Billy Soule at (330) 375-2660 or [email protected].