Prince George’s residents from Beltsville to Brandywine were out in force Aug. 6 to celebrate the 30th annual National Night Out.
Events were held at more than 80 locations around the county. The city of Glenarden sponsored a family-oriented celebration at city hall where many residents were introduced to the new mayor, Dennis Smith, while children enjoyed snacks and games. WKYS provided music. More than 200 residents attended.
“This is an event held across the United States to show criminals that the police and the citizens are united together in order to reduce crime and put criminals in jail,” Glenarden Police Chief Philip O’Donnell told the AFRO. “We have an excellent turnout tonight and Glenarden is an excellent community. The police department has an excellent relationship with the people in the community.”
In Suitland, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and Police Chief Mark Magaw chatted up citizens. Baker, whose children attended Suitland High School, posed for pictures and accepted hugs while he updated residents about county initiatives and coming events.
“National Night Out is an important annual event where neighbors can spend time with people in their towns and communities to promote crime prevention and build partnerships with public safety departments,” Baker said in a statement.
“Additionally, National Night Out provides a great opportunity in a casual and fun setting for residents to meet or become better acquainted with our incredible public safety employees.”
National Night Out was introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW). The event is always held on the first Tuesday in August. The event has grown from 2.5 million Americans participating the first year in 400 communities in 23 states into a national celebration that now includes more than 37 million citizens, law enforcement and safety personnel in 15,000 communities in all 50 states, the U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.
In Suitland, residents rubbed elbows with Prince George’s County Council members, police officers and other public safety personnel. There was music, food and even a moon bounce for the children. Information was provided about crime prevention and other safety tips.
“It’s a night where communities can come together and build relationships,” said Magaw, as he made his first stop of many that night at the Suitland event. “We’re only as good as our relationships with the community. So as those relationships grow, the effectiveness of the Police Department will also grow.”
Prince George’s County Council Member Karen R. Toles (D- 7), who hails from Suitland, said the event gave residents an opportunity to celebrate some positives going on the county right now.
“Crime has been down 31 percent, so this is truly a celebration in Prince George’s County,” Toles said. “This is big for the Suitland community and the District III police.”