NORTH AURORA – The police in North Aurora will spread the word about crime prevention while they build relationships within the community by taking part in block parties planned across the village for National Night Out on Aug. 7.
It's been a tradition for the department since the early 1990s, Deputy Chief Scott Buziecki stated in an email.
"It remains one of our most popular events with the community," he said.
From 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 7, residents in neighborhoods throughout North Aurora and across the nation are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outdoors with neighbors and police.
North Aurora residents who are hosting a National Night Out gathering are asked to contact the police department to be placed on the list requesting a visit during the event.
"Police officers pay a visit to each gathering to meet the residents, show off our vehicles and equipment, and hand out badges to the kids," Buziecki said. "These events are the ones that our officers seem to enjoy the most because they [are] really enjoyable and fun – for officers and our residents."
He said they also are informative, a perfect setting in which to share information about the department and the services it provides.
"By meeting people – and especially kids – in these low-stress events, they can get to know us a little bit and see that we’re regular guys and girls just trying to keep our village safe," Buziecki said.
And because it is residents' taxes that support the police department, he said he believes they deserve to meet the people, see the equipment and learn about the services their taxes are paying for. Social events like National Night Out provide an ideal way to meet officers that doesn't involve emergencies or getting pulled over for a traffic violation, he added.
Also stopping by gatherings will be McGruff the Crime Dog and the fire department.
Organizers of the 35th annual National Night Out note the goals are to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for local anti-crime efforts; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Buziecki said people who have relationships with their neighbors are more likely to keep an eye open and notice suspicious activity than those who don’t.
The sponsoring National Association of Town Watch expects the nationwide campaign to involve more than 16,540 communities.
To add a North Aurora event to the National Night Out list, contact Crime Prevention Officer Robyn Stecklein at 630-906-8146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.