When it comes to sending a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back, there is no hotter tool than National Night Out. But while thousands of communities will take part in the annual event Tuesday August 5th, Texas will observe National Night Out the first Tuesday in October:
“The whole idea of the National Night Out is to try to get our neighbors out there to get to know each other. The problem we were having is that a lot of people were complaining about the heat.”
Officer Jesse Martinez is in charge of community outreach and crime prevention at the Houston Police Department.
“We felt that it would be better to have it in October because it would get people more excited,
they’d be able to enjoy the National Night Out in a more cooler time of year, and in essence, we would get more participation from our citizens.”
National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. Executive director Matt Peskin says his group decided to reschedule the event in Texas after it received complaints about the heat.
“There was a lot of comments that we received via email and telephone and letters from some Texas coordinators who were saying that they weren’t getting as many people out in the last couple of years because the temperatures have been so high, and they wanted to see if we could experiment or do some research to find a possible alternative. So, that’s really what lead to all this.”
Peskin says people in Texas will be meeting their neighbors on Tuesday, October 7th.
“It’s kind of a cooperative effort between the Texas Crime Prevention Association and our National Association of Town Watch. We wanted to try and see if we could find a date where possibly in the future it would make it a little bit more enjoyable for people to be outside during Night Out so, we’re giving this October a test in Texas, and then we’ll evaluate it once it’s over.”
The HPD’s Officer Martinez says it’s a good call.
“I’m a big outdoorsman and, it’s a lot cooler in the evening in October. I think people will enjoy it more. I think they’ll get more excited, people will get out there with the intention of meeting their neighbors, and not waiting for the moment that they can go inside.”
Last year, 35-million people in the U.S. and Canada participated in National Night Out.
Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Houston Public Radio News.