Published in print and online at The Loomis News August 12, 2010
Loomis residents celebrated crime prevention and neighborhood camaraderie at the 27th annual National Night Out on Aug. 3.
The event was hosted by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, which was joined by the Loomis Fire Protection District and paramedics from American Medical Response in a parade of emergency vehicles through parts of town. Neighborhood Watch groups on Mareta Lane and Myrtle Drive in Loomis held potlucks while awaiting the flashing lights and sirens of the parade.
Robin Gray, whose family has hosted the Mareta Lane event for the past 17 years, said the evening is a great opportunity for members of the community to socialize while educating themselves about neighborhood safety procedures. Participants were supplied with phone lists and street maps in case of emergencies.
Tammy Stark was glad to catch up with her neighbors and to receive a list of contact information for her fellow residents.
“We do it every year,” she said. “We get to see our neighbors, and it’s a fun time to catch up and get our contact info updated.”
The National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit, crime prevention organization, first introduced the National Night Out, “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” in 1984. This year the group expected over 15,000 communities nationwide to participate in the event, which aims to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and generate support for the Neighborhood Watch program.
“I grew up this way, with neighbors taking care of each other,” Gray said of the program. “That’s what this is all about.”
On Myrtle Drive, Jim and Wanda Gilbert hosted their 14th National Night Out event.
“We’ve got a great neighborhood,” Jim Gilbert said. “Everybody likes getting together once a year, and we take care of each other all year long.”
As neighborhood children explored police cruisers and met members of the Sheriff’s K-9 team, Wanda Gilbert discussed the impact the Neighborhood Watch program has had on their community.
“It’s been very successful,” she said. “We’ve helped the police with a lot of things.”
In addition to posting signs on the street advertising the program’s presence, the group has designated safe houses for neighborhood children in the event of an emergency, and has informed local police of drug activity in the area, Gilbert said.
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