BURLINGTON, N.C. — Cities and towns across the nation are preparing for the celebration of the 37th annual National Night Out. It’s an annual campaign geared towards community-building and crime and drug prevention.
Law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, and other organizations introduced the campaign back in August of 1984. Since then, about 40-million neighbors continue to participate in the event in communities across the country. Neighborhoods usually hold block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other community events with visits from emergency personnel.
This year, National Night Out comes with uncertainties due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protests. The campaign is usually recognized in the month of August each year. But, national organizers pushed the campaign back to the month of October due to the global health crisis.
The Burlington Police Department is taking the initiative to hold a virtual celebration to help bridge the gap between the community and police. Burlington usually hosts about 40 neighborhood sites on National Night Out each year.
“The pandemic has changed so much in the world, but we don’t want it to stop us from connecting safely with the community we serve,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe with the Burlington Police Department. “Just like virtual Community Academy this year, we took National Night Out online. We are going to miss the smiling faces, high-fives and hugs we get from the community that night, but we will have to settle for seeing their smiling faces on zoom this year.”
If you plan on attending the virtual event, you can expect a Q&A session with officers and city leaders. The Burlington Police Department is holding National Night Out on Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can participate virtually via Zoom session or on the city of Burlington's YouTube page.