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Fight crime with a night out

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal file photo Crash-test dummies Larry and Vince talk to people about seat belt safety in front of the Nevada Highway Patrol Mobile Unit at the Sheriff's Department's National Night Out picnic last year in Mills Park.
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Hard to believe whiling away a summer evening eating hot dogs in a park next to an idle squad car can reduce crime.

But it does.

In the five years the Carson City Sheriff’s Office has spearheaded the local National Night Out gathering, crime has markedly dropped here.

“It’s no coincidence,” said Sheriff Kenny Furlong. “We’ve posted for the sixth year in a row Carson being down in violent crimes.

“Events like this where everyone in town can leave a porch light on, gather in one spot and say no to crime – it makes a tremendous impact.”

National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting “organized law enforcement-affiliated crime and drug prevention programs.”

National Night Out is the annual celebration sponsored by the organization in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies across the nation.

Celebrations are scheduled to take place across the country on Tuesday evening. Scattered across the land will be block parties, cookouts, parades and flashlight walks to promote safety and awareness.

In Carson, National Night Out will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at Mills Park with free hotdogs, soda and plenty of interaction with local agency officials. The local theme of the night is “Good-bye crime and drugs, hello to a safe Carson City.”

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office will be joined by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tahoe Douglas Bomb, the Department of Public Safety, the Carson City Fire department, the US Forest Service, Care Flight and Washoe Tribe Police Dept.

“Last year, we had 44 exhibits,” said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Lisa Davis. “This year we have 44 law enforcement exhibits alone. All these things are for the community to come and interact. The more they interact, the better the relationship between law enforcement and the community – it’s simple, really.”

Execution of the simple formula has garnered accolades for the Carson agencies. Each year, the National Association of Town Watch judges local communities for individual efforts, and Carson last year was recognized as a top participant.

But the real rewards come in form of a more tight-knit community of residents keeping an eye out for the safety of their neighbors.

“It’s great to see multiple agencies work together and get involved with the people,” Furlong said. “We’re really trying to emphasize cutting down on drug and alcohol use. If we do that, we cut out about 80 percent of what we deal with.

“You’re going to see more and more outreach.”

National night out

What: A gathering of residents and local law enforcement and protection agencies. The event, sponsored nationally by the National Association of Town Watch, has a local theme: “Good-bye crime and drugs, hello to a safe Carson City.”

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7

Where: Mills Park

What to expect: Local agencies from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office to Care Flight and the Carson City Fire Department will have staff available to answer questions with equipment on display. Free hotdogs and soda.

For more information visit http://www.nationaltownwatch.org