On a recent hot August evening, an estimated 25,000 citizens in some 50 Nashville neighborhoods made it clear that they intend to take back their neighborhoods from criminals. They gathered throughout the evening at cookouts, block parties, children's contests and band concerts to share with their neighbors and city officials their thoughts and ideas on how to stamp-out crime.
The events were among thousands of similar ones throughout held as part of the 20th annual National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. NATW (www.nationaltownwatch.org/natw/about.html) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of organized, law enforcement-affiliated crime and drug prevention programs. "National Night Out" has been successful in promoting crime- and drug-prevention activities, strengthening police-community relations and encouraging neighborhood camaraderie as part of the fight for safer streets.
Among the Nashville events was a citywide "Posters Against Crime" contest for kids, and the election of "Neighborhood Heroes." On-hand to congratulate the contest winners were Mayor Bill Purcell, Police Chief Deborah Faulkner, Fire Chief Stephen Halford, members of the Nashville Night Out Committee Staff and other dignitaries.
"In Nashville, neighborhoods really get involved, and that's what makes Nashville a great place to live," said Terry Livingston, HUD's field policy and management coordinator in Nashville. "The citywide planning committee works all year to plan, coordinate, budget and manage the event. There's always classy entertainment in Music City, even in the smaller neighborhoods."
For the 5th consecutive year, Department employees showed their support for NNO by grilling food, helping run events for kids, distributing HUD crime-fighting resources and meeting with local leaders and citizens.
Said Multi-Family's Ron Buchanan: "Senior citizens, kids, the rich and the poor, all races and all nationalities, all religions and many with different dialects all proved that their neighborhoods can organize to fight crime. It's as American as apple pie."
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