BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The Daytona Beach Police Department reached out to the community during the annual National Night Out against crime event on Aug. 7.
The police teamed up with the City of Daytona Beach to put on the event, which was held at Cypress Park and included free food, games and activities.
“Our goal is to bring out the community and offer them an evening of fun for the kids and family with games and food along with things geared towards entertainment,” said Carla Quann, Site Coordinator of Daytona Beach’s Weed and Seed program.
The event was designed to bring together local law enforcement and the community to fight crime.
Started nationally in 1984
The event is part of the National Night Out (NNO) campaign, which is a crime prevention event, started by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) in 1984.
Since then, over 37 million people in more than 15,000 communities nationwide, in U.S. territories and military bases abroad have participated.
The event often features block parties, cookouts, festivals, displays, contests and visits from local law enforcement.
A sparse crowd attended Daytona Beach celebration but those involved believe that the event is good for everyone.
“This is great. I wish that we could get more of the folks in the neighborhood to come out. It’s great for crime awareness. It’s a great way to mix and mingle with the cops. We are just making this a better place to live,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood.
Fourth year in Daytona
This is the fourth year that the event has been held in Daytona Beach.
“The event has grown to involve not only the residents but also businesses within the community now come out to enjoy it. We want to let the children and residents know the importance of working together to fight against crime,” added Quann.
Law enforcement believes that it is critical that the community work with them to prevent crime.
“Law enforcement cannot be everywhere. The community is our eyes and ears. They help us in the fight. We have anonymous tip lines that have helped us in the fight against crime in the city,” expressed Quann.
Daytona Beach police sees its relationship with the community as a good one with room for improvement.
“I think the relationship is good, but it could always be better. We want it to be better. We are working to earn the community’s trust so they can know that they can come to us when they have a problem. We will work and solve that problem,” added Chitwood.
Similar Night Out events took place locally in surrounding cities, including Ormond Beach, Port Orange and South Daytona.