City staff and elected officials prepare for National Night Out
Once again, City staff and elected officials are finalizing preparations for another National Night Out. This year’s event, set for Tuesday, Aug. 2, features the theme "Back to Basics: Neighbors Getting to Know Neighbors!".
Now entering its 28 th year in Minneapolis, National Night Out is an annual nationwide crime prevention effort that aims to reduce crime by encouraging neighbors to get to know one another. When people know one another, police say they are more likely to watch out for one another and call police about suspicious activity. National Night Out block parties help build and maintain Minneapolis’ extensive network of neighborhood watch block clubs by giving people an opportunity to get together with neighbors, meet new people and discuss issues.
Minneapolis is a national leader
Minneapolis is a national leader in how it plans and carries out its annual National Night Out events. Minneapolis placed second in the nation for the number of National Night Out gatherings held in 2010 among cities with populations greater than 300,000. Last year, nearly 55,000 Minneapolis residents gathered at nearly 1,200 events in every neighborhood of the city to celebrate National Night Out.
Many departments are involved
Minneapolis’ National Night Out success is the result of many contributions from City staff and elected officials.
The Police Department takes the lead role in coordinating National Night Out. The department helps neighborhoods with event preparation, distributes promotional flyers, assembles registration packets and coordinates visits to ensure many parties are visited by a member of the Police Department.
Other City departments play key roles in National Night Out. The 311 Center helps residents register their block parties and apply for street closure permission. Public Works puts up barricades to close streets. The Communications Department helps publicize the event, and the mayor and City Council members promote the event in their newsletters. Firefighters, as well as the mayor and City Council members, attend a number of National Night Out events.
Tips for making your event greener
Folks planning National Night Out events can save money, use fewer resources and throw away less garbage by trying some of these tips for a greener block party:
- Using reusable plates, cups and utensils. Planners who don’t have enough plates or cups can ask neighbors to bring their own.
- Providing condiments in bulk containers.
- Saving decorations to use again next year.
- Only serving beverages in reusable or recyclable containers.
- Recycling the bottles and cans from the party. Setting out bins or bags and labeling them will make it easy for guests to recycle.
- Whenever possible, using email instead of paper to get information to neighbors.
- Serving local, healthy food from farmers markets or organizers’ own gardens.
More ideas are at Green Block Party Ideas (pdf).
Published Jul. 20, 2011