Several neighborhoods plan National Night Out events
For 25 years National Night Out events have been bringing neighbors together to combat crime.
This year on August 5, more than 40 neighborhoods throughout Rosemount will host events. Some will do something small like root beer floats while others will throw big parties complete with a DJ and inflatable jumpers.
Regardless of what the neighborhoods do the message they send by getting out Aug. 5 is, "Not in our neighborhood."
"It gives the citizens and the community the opportunity to say, 'Hey, these are our neighborhoods,'" said Chad Rosa, the Rosemount police officer who organizes the event.
National Night Out, an event started by the National Association of Town Watch, is orchestrated by the Rosemount Police Department and individual neighborhoods. The police department has helped sponsor NNO events for more than decade. Individual neighborhoods plan their own parties but the department helps by providing support and resources, said Rosa.
"We really leave it up to them," said Rosa about planning neighborhood events. "It doesn't have to be anything major."
Rosa helps coordinate visits from the police officers, fire trucks, city staff and city council members to the different neighborhoods during the night. Each party can choose who they want to see in their neighborhood. Rosa said he tries his best to accommodate everyone.
This year the police department will collect non-perishable food items as it has for the past four years. Rosa said this year donations will go to Community Action Council Food Shelves. In past years donations have gone to Dakota Woodlands.
Rosa said need at the local food shelf has gone up and that nearly half of those served by the food shelf are children. In 2007, 8,900 individuals received help through a CAC food shelves.
Rosa said over the years NNO has proved to be a good event because its a good way for residents to get out to meet each other. He said it's especially helpful in newer developments where neighbors often haven't met.
That why Lisa Toll got involved. Her block has held a NNO event for the last four years. She said the close-knit neighborhood takes advantage of it to reconnect and to learn what's going on with one another.
"National Night Out is a good way to connect and to know what's going on," said Toll.
For the last two years Toll's neighborhood, which includes Birch Street, 140th Street West, 138th Street West and Belvidere Court, has thrown a big shindig that includes an inflatable jumper for the kids, a kids activity and snacks for everyone. This year for the activity kids will get to decorate a cupcake.
Toll said they have between 60 and 70 people attend the annual event.
In addition to NNO residents in the area also participate in a neighborhood watch group. Toll said people living in the area watch out for each other.
"One goes in hand with the other," said Rosa. He said many neighborhoods that hold NNO events also have watch groups.
Watch groups are something Rosa encourages. Participating isn't a huge time commitment but the payoff is huge, he said. Neighborhoods just need to meet twice a year. NNO can count as one of those meetings.
This year Rosa said there are a lot of neighborhoods hosting events for the first time.
For more information on the National Night Out contact Chad Rosa at 651-322-2012 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.