NE neighborhoods get ready for National Night Out

The an­nu­al city­wide Na­tion­al Night Out cel­eb­ra­tion has been can­celed this year due to a lack of fund­ing, but sev­er­al neigh­bor­hood-based events will be avail­able to North­east res­id­ents on Tues­day, Aug. 2.

Cre­ated by the Na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Town Watch in 1984, Na­tion­al Night Out is in­ten­ded to pro­mote crime pre­ven­tion, com­munity spir­it and po­lice-com­munity part­ner­ships. Thou­sands of cit­ies and towns across the United States and Canada con­duct pub­lic gath­er­ings on the des­ig­nated date. Mean­while, res­id­ents who do not at­tend an or­gan­ized activ­ity are en­cour­aged to turn their porch lights on dur­ing the night as a demon­stra­tion of solid­ar­ity against crime.

In Phil­adelphia in re­cent years, however, pub­lic fund­ing for Op­er­a­tion Town Watch has dwindled, for­cing the city’s Town Watch or­gan­izers to scale back the pro­gram. In pre­vi­ous years, Op­er­a­tion Town Watch held a block party-style event on Na­tion­al Night Out at the Wal­mart at 1601 S. Colum­bus Blvd. That event will not oc­cur this year.

However, the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil, the Fox Chase Town Watch and the Castor Gar­dens Town Watch will each host pub­lic activ­it­ies.

The 8th dis­trict cel­eb­ra­tion will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the po­lice sta­tion at Academy and Red Li­on roads. Vis­it­ors will be treated to free food and re­fresh­ments, chil­dren’s games and oth­er fam­ily-friendly activ­it­ies.

There will be a Moon­bounce ride, bowl­ing on a port­able al­ley, bi­cycle iden­ti­fic­a­tion num­ber etch­ing (Kids must bring their bikes.), child fin­ger­print­ing, a “bike rodeo” for kids (Hel­mets are re­quired.), a hula hoop con­test, dis­coun­ted skat­ing passes to the SkateZone, a kids’ photo op­por­tun­ity with mem­bers of Phil­adelphia’s SWAT unit (Par­ents should bring their own cam­er­as.) and an ap­pear­ance by Mad Dog, the Phil­adelphia Wings mas­cot.

Par­ents may at­tend a mini-burg­lary pre­ven­tion sem­in­ar at the dis­trict and re­ceive an 8th dis­trict decal for their homes.

The Fox Chase Town Watch will host a sim­il­ar event at Fox Chase School, Rhawn and Hal­stead streets, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Dozens of area busi­nesses and or­gan­iz­a­tions will be on hand with nu­mer­ous pro­mo­tion­al giveaways in­clud­ing Rita’s Wa­ter Ice, Quig’s Pizza and the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment’s D.A.R.E. and C.A.R.E. units. Kids can get their faces painted for free, and en­tire fam­il­ies will be able to en­joy a vari­ety of en­ter­tain­ment, in­clud­ing a per­form­ance by teen sing­er Timmy Kelly.

At 7 p.m., mem­bers of the Castor Gar­dens Town Watch and their neigh­bors will hold a pic­nic in the school­yard at Woo­drow Wilson Middle School, Cottman and Lor­etto av­en­ues. The event is open to the pub­lic. Neigh­bor­hood res­id­ents are en­cour­aged to stop by, en­joy some cookout-style fare and learn about the role of Town Watch in the com­munity.

Res­id­ents in the 7th Po­lice Dis­trict who won’t be able to make one of the Aug. 2 events are in­vited to an open house at the po­lice sta­tion at Bustleton Av­en­ue and Bowl­er Street on Monday, Aug. 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Par­ents are en­cour­aged to bring their chil­dren for tours of the po­lice sta­tion, in­clud­ing the jail cells, along with a free bar­be­cue lunch. ••

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