Meet neighbors, public safety officers next Tuesday, Aug. 6

Local communities host public safety events


A policeman talks to residents at a block party in 2011. (File photo)
A policeman talks to residents at a block party in 2011. (File photo)

Mary Bailey
Community Editor

Knowing your neighbors is a good thing. Chatting over the fence helps you find out what’s going on, who’s celebrating and who needs a little help.

When it comes to crime prevention, knowing the neighbors can make a big difference, as when you hear, “Does that car belong in your driveway? Just thought I’d call to make sure everything’s okay.”

National Night Out and Night to Unite are community events that help people connect with other residents to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness.

At community centers and block parties, people can meet their local police and fire fighters. Next Tuesday, Aug. 6, Forest Lake, Hugo, Wyoming and Scandia will observe crime-prevention events.

Neighborhood groups in Forest Lake work with Police Detective Ashley LaValle to create awareness, report suspicious activity and deter criminal activity.

Police officers will attend block parties throughout Forest Lake, and neighborhoods will collect food for the Community Helping Hands food shelf.

In Wyoming, instead of separate block parties, the celebration takes place at Goodview Park, south of 262th Street on Goodview Avenue.

From 6 to 9 p.m., residents can meet local police and firefighters and watch demonstrations by the K9 unit and the fire department. There will be a dunk tank, crafts, music, a giant jumper, a helicopter landing, minnow races and archery.

The city of Hugo will host a Community Night Out from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lions park. The Lions will serve free hot dogs and pop, and the Hugo Business Association will offer free games and treats. Residents are encouraged to donate to the Hugo Food Shelf by filling a fire truck with donations.

Scandia’s National Night Out celebration will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the community center, 14727 209th St. N. The annual event is co-sponsored by the city and the Washington County Sheriff’s office.

Residents gather in the parking lot for a free supper, fire department demonstrations, a Washington County mounted patrol appearance and kids’ fingerprinting.

Event history

For the past 30 years, National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, has been held on the first Tuesday of August in cities throughout the country.

Night to Unite is sponsored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association and AAA of Minnesota/Iowa. In its fifth year, Night to Unite takes place on the same day as National Night Out.

Some cities switched organizations when the NATW executive director’s $322,000 annual compensation package became public knowledge in 2008.