National Night Out to highlight work of new Neighborhood Crime Watch

National Night Out to highlight work of new Neighborhood Crime Watch

NORTH PROVIDENCE - The North Providence Police Department will be hosting its first National Night Out, an event designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and highlight expanding police-community partnerships and new local crime watch groups, on Aug. 6 at Governor Notte Park.

The National Night Out event is being made possible through donations from local businesses and volunteer members of the North Providence Neighborhood Crime Watch, a fledgling umbrella crime watch program for the entire town.

The free event, to run from 5 to 9 p.m., will include food, carnival games, bouncy houses, an obstacle course, and a dunk-a-cop tank. There will be advocacy agencies providing children's activities and educating people on health awareness.

"The benefit of members of the community interacting with their local police officers in a fun and educational atmosphere is priceless," said Sgt. Diana Perez, community police liaison for the North Providence Police Department.

Perez told The North Providence Breeze that the Aug. 6 National Night Out will be the inaugural event of the Neighborhood Crime Watch, a partnership she is heading up to be the face of the department's renewed emphasis on developing relationships with the community to increase communication and prevent future crimes.

"For the National Night Out, all crime watch programs will come together," said Perez.

Police plan to provide extensive information on how to get involved with community crime watch groups starting up across town.

Project Neighborhood Watch is designed for people who want to make their neighborhood safer by working together and in conjunction with law enforcement to reduce crime and improve quality of life, according to Perez. Local groups will have monthly meetings to plan how they will accomplish their specific goals and assign responsibilities to group members.

Among the benefits of a neighborhood crime watch in other communities, said Perez, have been:

* A reduction in crime;

* A better quality of life;

* A greater sense of security,

* A building of community pride and unity;

* And better preparation in case situations arise.

Acting Police Chief Paul Martellini told The Breeze back last fall that he wants to see crime watch groups spring up "organically" across North Providence. Members would in no way take the place of police officers, said Martellini, but would act as the department's eyes and ears on the ground.

Residents and business owners who are interested in participating or donating to the Aug. 6 event, or being involved in a local community crime watch group, should contact Perez by calling 401-231-4533, ext. 114, or emailing cpu@northprovidenceri.gov.