PIQUA – Neighbors will find themselves with a reason to get reacquainted on Aug 4. National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, is coming back on that night from 6-8 p.m.
“They do several different crime prevention type things, and we’ve participated in the past in various ways,” Piqua Chief of Police Bruce Jamison said.
Before the recession, the city sometimes held a big event downtown for National Night Out, Jamison said. After the recession, the city had to cut back. Since then, Piqua has participated in a county-wide National Night Out event that Troy organized.
“I’ve always preferred something that, if we’re celebrating neighborhoods … then it should be at the neighborhood level,” Jamison said. “So we decided to try something different this year.”
That “something different” is block parties.
The city’s flagship party will be on the 700 block of South Downing Street. The Piqua Police Department, the main coordinating force behind this effort, does not want to draw people out of their neighborhoods into this flagship party, though. They would rather neighborhoods party and gather together.
“I would love to see about a dozen,” Jamison said.
On a corner block, in a backyard, in a local city park – a block party can happen almost anywhere, and the police department wants to help make that happen.
“We’d work with them to get something going with them in their neighborhood,” Jamison said about a person or group interested in throwing a block party on National Night Out.
“We will help facilitate making that happen,” Jamison said, including providing signage and helping others identify the group hosting the block party. Different block parties can also have their own focus; for example, one group is focusing on school buses and school bus safety.
“Anything they would like to do to encourage relationships between neighbors is what we want to do,” Jamison said.
The police department will be sending officers around to all of the block parties, along with the fire department making the rounds as well. They will also be showing off their equipment from fire trucks to a tactical rescue vehicle, which is expected to spark the interests of children.
“All of these things will be making the rounds for the purposed of the officers being able to talk to people,” Jamison said.
The police department is also hoping to promote usage of Nextdoor.com in order to keep the neighborhood block party mentality going year-round.
“It’s turned into a really great tool for several hundred people,” Jamison said. Nextdoor.com is a form of social media just for neighbors. Only people in the same neighborhood are able to communicate with each other. It is a tool for neighbors to connect and to discuss issues going on in the area, such as trash, lost dogs, safety advisories, or crime.
Some people, though, may not be able to sign-up on Nextdoor.com due to not having a computer or not wanting to take part in social media.
“For whatever reason, they’re never going to sign up, but they might have a neighbor next door who would gladly share information,” Jamison said. For the neighbors who do not want to take part in Nextdoor.com, the police department is hoping that they can still get connected with the neighbors who do.
Those interested in hosting a block party or helping out with one can call (937) 778-2033 or email PROTECT@piquaoh.org. All block parties associated with National Night Out will be on Aug. 4 from 6-8 p.m.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall