National Night Out provides outlet to interact

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 6:58 p.m.

The three National Night Out events planned in east Gainesville will be an opportunity for residents to get to know their neighbors and interact with local law enforcement officials.



What: National Night Out will be held to fight crime in neighborhoods.

When: 5-8 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Three locations in east Gainesville.

Information: Call 352-393-7600.

The events will be held on Tuesday (National Night Out is held annually the first Tuesday in August) when neighborhoods across the nation will participate in what is billed as "America's Night Out Against Crime." Events in east Gainesville will be held from 5-8 p.m. at Lincoln Park at 1000 SE 15th St.; 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Village and Forest Green Apartments at 3101 NE 15th St. and from 6-8 p.m. at Cedar Grove Park at 1200 NE 22nd St. in the Cedar Grove II subdivision sandwiched between the Duval neighborhood and the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Northeast Waldo Road.

The National Association of Town Watch, a non-profit organization founded in 1981 aimed at making neighborhoods safe, began organizing National Night Out in 1984 to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and send a message to criminals that their illegal activity will not be tolerated.

Here are the highlights of the events in east Gainesville.

Village and Forest Green

According to a press release from PK Management, the group that manages the apartments, the event will feature live entertainment, free haircuts, raffles, educational information, health screenings, food and fun for the entire family.

People from the community and organizations who have committed to be present include Tony "Amp Da Barber" Anderson of Ty-Je's Upscale Hair Salon & Boutique, the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County, officials from GPD, members of the Gainesville City Commission, Rawlings Elementary School, Santa Fe College's GED Program, Upper Room Church of God in Christ and others.

Lincoln Park

A proclamation by Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy; a short speech by Gainesville Police Department Chief Tony Jones; the K-9 and mounted horse units from GPD and members of the GPD Crime Prevention Unit will be present, as well as representatives from the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office, Alachua County Health Department, Alachua County and city of Gainesville Fire Rescue Departments, CDS Family & Behavioral Health Services Inc. and other community agencies. There will also be a flyover by a law enforcement helicopter.

Earther Wright, president of the Gainesville Police Department's Citizens Academy Alumni Association, said this will be the seventh year the association has partnered with neighborhoods to host the event at Lincoln Park.

The association is comprised of a graduates of a 10-week program administered by GPD that promotes citizen interaction with law enforcement agencies. Wright said neighborhoods and organizations who will be participating in the event include Azalea Trails, located just south of Lincoln Middle School; Breezy Acres, located between Evergreen Cemetery and Southeast 15th Street; Eagle Eye, located between East University and Northeast Fourth Avenues, and Northeast Waldo Road and Northeast 15th Street; Lake Road, located between Northeast and Southeast 25th to 27th Streets on East University Avenue; North Lincoln Heights, located north of Williams Elementary School; Norwood Heights, located north of Southeast Williston Road and intersected by Southeast Fourth Street and the Red Barn neighborhood, located between Southeast 15th Street and Hawthorne Road and Southeast Fourth Avenue and Hawthorne Road and the Duval Front Porch and Fifth Avenue Neighborhood associations.

Cedar Grove

The Cedar Grove Homeowners Association will be hosting this event, which will feature pizza, GPD's interactive robot known as Christy Cop, a law enforcement helicopter flyover, a presentation about child safety, self-defense programs, a "meet and greet" with Jones and a visit from the K-9 and mounted horse units from GPD.

Tiffany Dorsey, president of the homeowners association, said though Cedar Grove has little or no major crime issues, celebrating National Night Out is still important.

"It is important because it brings the community together," Dorsey said. "We want residents to become aware of the homeowners association, and we want to encourage interaction between the community and the police."

Officer Ben Tobias, spokesman for GPD, said GPD relishes the chance to meet people in the community.

"National Night Out is one of the best ways for us to interact with citizens," Tobias said. "The citizens and GPD look forward to this event each year, and it's just another way for us to reach the community.

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