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PD Urges Neighbors to Participate in National Crime Awareness Program

This year, the San Rafael police and fire departments are asking residents to organize a neighborhood activity on your block for "National Night Out."

The San Rafael police and fire departments are asking residents to participate in a national program that hopes to increase awareness of suspicious activity in neighborhoods.

The public safety departments are asking neighbors to organize activities like street parties, potlucks or ice cream socials on their blocks for the first week of August in order for residents to get to know each other. If neighbors are familiar with one another, they are more apt to report suspicious activity in their neighborhood when they see something noteworthy, police officials said.

“This is a night to send a powerful message about neighborhood unity, awareness, safety and police-community partnerships,” police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said in a release.

The program, known as “National Night Out,” was created in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch to make a statement against crime throughout the country.  At first, neighbors were encouraged to leave their front porch lights on, showing their support with their local police departments in the fight against crime.

That first year, 400 communities in 23 states participated.  Since then, the program has grown steadily.  Last year, 37.1 million people in 15,325 communities from all 50 states U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide participated.

This year is the first year that San Rafael will be participating. The event will be held on Aug. 7, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“Let criminals know that San Rafael is united and dedicated to building a safer, more caring city,” Rorhbacher said.

To participate, you must submit the NNO registration form which is available on the police department web.  The form asks for a detailed description of the activities, including location, time schedule, number of attendees, activities, etc.  Registration forms are due to Peggy Ruge no later than July 17.  For more information, contact Peggy at 485-3114 or by email at 353@srpd.org.

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