Getting to know the neighbors |

Getting to know the neighbors

David Bunker
Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun McGruff the Crime Dog says hello to Jordan Brenes, 3 of Truckee, at National Night Out Tuesday at Truckee Pines Apartments. Between 150 to 200 residents showed up for the event.

A crime canine, a fingerprinting station, a helicopter and whole lot of neighbors made Truckee’s first crime awareness night a success. Neighbors and members of law enforcement mingled at Truckee Pines and the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments on Tuesday for National Night Out, which was dedicated locally to celebrating the launch of the first police-sponsored neighborhood watch programs in town.Truckee’s version of the nationwide crime awareness night was to encourage residents to get out and meet their neighbors and speak with local law enforcement.”In a time when a lot of people don’t know their neighbor [the event can] bring that sense of community back,” said Lisa Young of the Truckee Police Department.

The event attracted between 150 and 200 residents – many of them children who enjoyed the appearance of McGruff the Crime Dog and a helicopter that landed in the parking lot.”This barbecue, I think, turned out positive for everyone here,” said Julie Bowman, manager of the two apartment complexes, who organized the event with local police. “I couldn’t have asked for it better.” Young said that National Night Out will now become an annual event in town. And the police department hopes that neighborhoods will follow in the footsteps of the senior apartments and Panonia Ranchos, which both initiated neighborhood watch programs. Bowman agreed that the barbecue and the crime awareness night were a great success. She has already decided to hold another night where residents can come out and mingle next year.

“I am planning on making this an annual event,” she said.What is National Night Out?National Night Out has been an annual event for 22 year. In all, over 34 million people participated in the 2004 event.

National Night Out is designed to:• Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;• Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;• Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and• Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.1