By Amanda Rogers
October brings thoughts of ghouls and goblins, but the real creeps could be the ones scoping out your neighborhood. And this month brings a way to keep the real bad guys away.
Mansfield celebrates National Night Out on Oct. 3, encouraging neighbors to get out and meet the people who live near them – and keep their neighborhood safe.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to get out and a meet their neighbors and first responders in a positive connection,” said Trey Kerr, community resource officer for the Mansfield Police Department.
“Police don’t make a city safe,” Kerr said. “We know that for a fact. It’s all about the neighbors and community. If everybody watches out for each other, crime will go down. If you know your neighbors, you will look out for them.”
The movement began in 1970 in the Philadelphia suburbs as local effort. In 1981, the effort was expanded to a National Association of Town Watch, and by 1984 the group had begun National Night Out. The annual event is held across the country and on military bases around the world, usually on the first Tuesday in August, but on the first Tuesday in October in Texas and a few other places because of the heat.
The idea is that if people know what they’re neighbors look like, they’ll know if someone is in the neighborhood or in their neighbor’s house who doesn’t belong. The event also gives residents a chance to meet their police, firefighters and first responders in a positive atmosphere.
Mansfield has embraced the event, with more than 20 neighborhoods signed up to participate this year, Kerr said.
“Some of the big ones are like block parties, one has a mini parade that they call the shortest parade in Mansfield,” he said. “Last year they had a police car, fire truck and a bunch of little kids.
“A lot have cookouts,” Kerr said. “Some have petting zoos, bounce houses and one had a movie night. There’s a bunch of cornhole tournaments.”
Neighborhoods that want to block off a street need to get a city permit, but many National Night Out parties just have people wandering from one driveway to the next, Kerr said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a small group or large, it’s just about getting to know your neighbors,” he said.
For more information or to register, contact Kerr at 817-276-4758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.