Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan today urged residents in their city to participate in National Night Out parties on Aug. 7 in order to raise crime prevention awareness. Jordan said National Night Out is “an opportunity for neighbors to come together and solve crime and reduce violent crimes.” Quan said, “When neighbors get to know each other and party together they make their neighborhoods safer and crime goes down.” National Night Out block parties “make Oakland a friendlier and safer community,” Quan said.
The block parties are held in neighborhoods in cities across the country once a year to generate support for local anti-crime programs, build community-police relations and send a message to criminals that neighbors are organized against crime. Jordan said, “In the last seven years there’s been steadily increasing participation in National Night Out parties in Oakland. It’s our signature event for the community.” Quan said Oakland had its highest number of National Night Out events ever last year with 560 parties but she hopes there are even more events this year and the goal is to have 600.
She said Oakland residents have registered to host 520 events so far this year and she hopes that number will grow by Aug. 7. Tina “Tamale” Ramos, a restaurant owner and mobile food vendor, said she’ll be hosting a block party because people get “an important sense of place when they share food and meet their neighbors and get to know their names and faces.” Ramos said the events are a chance “to spend time together and have a good time.” Business owner Marlon McWilson said he’s hosting a party in his neighborhood on 98th Avenue in what he described as “deep East Oakland” so that “people can get to know each other and break bread with each other.”
McWilson said his community has a reputation for having a lot of crime but he said, “It’s a community that’s doing better.” People who want to register to host a National Night Out party in Oakland can call (510) 238-3091 or go to the city’s website. Organizers said parties come in many different forms, with neighbors meeting on their streets, in their apartment complex, or at neighborhood parks, churches or libraries. City staff will visit each party and provide a small gift to each party host.
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