Minneapolis wins National Night Out’s #1 ranking again!

Minneapolis remains a national leader in how it plans and executes its annual National Night Out events. For the seventh time in the past nine years, Minneapolis has won National Night Out’s top award for cities with populations greater than 300,000.

Minneapolis, which finished ahead of San Antonio, Houston and Los Angeles, received the 2009 award notice on Nov. 16 from the National Association of Town Watch, the competition’s sponsor.

This year’s award was an especially significant accomplishment because Minneapolis had fewer resources and personnel available to plan the event. Despite diminished resources, nearly 59,500 Minneapolis residents gathered on Aug. 4 at 1,033 events in 83 separate neighborhoods to celebrate National Night Out. Minneapolis’ effort, which was coordinated by the Minneapolis Police Department, resulted in activities ranging from small get-togethers in yards to elaborate events in parks and on blocked-off streets.

National Night Out is a 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 activities 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.

Now in its 26th year in Minneapolis, National Night Out’s success is the result of many contributions from elected officials and City staff. The Mayor and City Council promoted and attended events. The 311 Center answered questions and helped with registration, street closure, and a follow-up survey. The Business and Information Services Department updated and tested the online registration process. The Communications Department helped publicize the event; Public Works helped with street closure; firefighters attended many events, and Elections and Voter Registration provided materials about Ranked Choice Voting.

The Police Department’s community service officers, Juvenile Diversion Program interns, and YouthCARE Minnesota Community Service Stars distributed promotional flyers, put together registration packets and counted and bundled Minnesota Twins vouchers and schedules.

Event organizers also submitted photos from their events. Photo documentation also came from volunteers with the Minneapolis Photographic Society, who went to many National Night Out events to take pictures.

National Night Out’s success is also the result of contributions from the private sector. The Minnesota Twins provided 15,000 ticket vouchers and Nickelodeon Universe gave away 50,000 Mystery Passes. Target donated 400 $10 gift cards and supplies for National Night Out start-up kits. The General Mills Foundation provided funds for start-up kits and gift cards for door prizes.

Nov. 24, 2009

Published Nov 17, 2009