National Night Out (copy)

Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price (striped dress) stands with LBPD Chief Robert Luna and others at a previous year's National Night Out.

National Night Out is back on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and the Long Beach Police Department is encouraging residents to throw their own block parties, get to know their neighbors and connect community with law enforcement.

National Night Out was established 36 years ago to create an informed and involved sense of community. It stemmed from a network of neighborhood watch groups, crime prevention associations and law enforcement agencies. It grew to become a fun, for-us-by-us annual celebration to promote building safer communities including cook-outs, parades and festivals.

“The city of Long Beach used to throw one big event every year, but it’s really about getting to know your neighbors and your neighborhood,” said Karen Owens, administrator at the community engagement division within LBPD. “It’s a fundamental step for crime prevention. Neighbors who know each other are more likely to look out for each other.”

Officials said the city believes communities that become closer and more involved leads to more consistently and accurately identifying suspicious or out of the ordinary activity.

“If something suspicious happens, they can know ‘that’s not my neighbor's car or that’s not my neighbor,’ and they can call us,” Owens said.

Long Beach communities host more than 30 National Night Out events annually, and Owens said she expects that number will increase this year.

Hosts can register their events through National Night Out’s online portal and can request law enforcement to attend their events by letting them know the address and times.

“We want to encourage people to get to know each other,” Owens said, “and connect law enforcement and communities.”

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