Planning has begun for the second annual National Night Out, set for Tuesday, Aug. 5 at Robe Ann Park in Greencastle. This will be the 25th anniversary of the National Night Out program.
Anyone wanting to join the organization committee can attend the next session at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Greencastle Police Department.
Last year, more than 30 agencies participated locally and attendance exceeded 500 community members. Plans include expanding this year's program and doubling the attendance.
"This program is a way to reach out to the youth and demonstrate that crime is not acceptable, and our desire is to see them grow up safe and have healthy lifestyles," stated Linda Merkel, local coordinator for this year's event.
The program is designed to:
* Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness.
* Generate support for, and participation in local anticrime programs.
* Strengthen community spirit and law enforcement partnerships.
* Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized
The first year, more than 400 communities in 23 states participated in the event. Nationwide, Americans began taking part in 1984, with more than 35.2 million people in communities from all 50 states participating.
While the traditional "lights on" and front porch vigils remain a part of NNO, activities have grown considerably during the years to include block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from law enforcement, community walks, safety fairs, contests, rallies and meetings.
National Night Out has proven to be an effective program to promote community and law enforcement partnership in the fight for a safe nation.
Any organization interested in participating in this program can contact Merkel at the Putnam County Youth Development Commission Office at 653-9342.