national night outYou might be wondering what National Night Out (NNO) is. A night dedicated to an evening with friends? No. A night dedicated to unplugging and getting outside? Not that either.

NNO is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community relations to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. NNO enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while encouraging an authentic sense of community. It also provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

At Grantham University, there is a tradition of community support and dedication to those who serve —exactly what National Night Out represents. Here is all you need to know:

How It Started

National Night Out was started in 1984 by Matt Peskin of the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) to bring people outside on their porches the first Tuesday of every August, as a symbolic statement against neighborhood crime.

It all started in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa., where Peskin spent many years volunteering for a community watch program. While volunteering in the program, he decided to start a newsletter that highlighted the successes achieved by the watch program. He quickly realized how many different watch groups existed without a way connect with one another.

In 1981 the NATW was officially founded, and three years later, the first annual NNO took place. It involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states.

Why It’s Important

The campaign has become an especially important link between neighbors and law enforcement across the nation. Former Vice President Joe Biden considers the campaign “… a chance to bring neighborhoods together with the men and women who protect them. The safety of our communities depends on both law enforcement and the neighbors they serve. National Night Out enhances that cooperation.”1

Millions of neighbors take part in NNO across thousands of communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. And in a world where division is often the focus, it’s important to shift that focus to building a better community for everyone.

In the 2016 annual NATW newsletter, Matt Peskin noted that “there were some very rough months in advance of NNO for law enforcement across the nation. On NNO, neighborhoods came in large numbers from every part of the country to salute first responders, pledge their support and join with their neighbors.”

National Night Out helps bring citizens and law enforcement together for the greater good of creating a safe environment for everyone. It is crucial for building trust and relationships between the two.

“This is a great way to break bread and break the ice so the community knows who we are and what we’re about,” said Sgt. Anna Rose, public information officer for the U.S. Park Police. “[We’re] there in our uniforms, but they know that we [are] people, and we’ll get to know them in the same way.”2

How to Get Involved

Neighborhoods across the nation host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other events that offer activities such as safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel and exhibits. Today, 38 million neighbors in 16 thousand communities all over the nation take part in NNO.

Are you interested in getting involved?

There are a couple of different ways you can participate:

1. Find a NNO happening near you
2. Plan a NNO in your area

National Night Out and Grantham University’s Core Values

Grantham’s foundation is built on the idea of “Serving Those Who Serve®.”

As you work toward earning your degree as a Grantham student, it’s important to make the connection between your education and your ability to make a positive difference through service. Campaigns like National Night Out allow you to put Grantham’s core values into action in your own community.

It’s up to you to live out Grantham’s Vision Statement: “Grantham University is committed to being a globally recognized innovator in higher education, serving those who serve and serving those who strive to make a difference in their professional lives and community.”

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