National Night Out promotes crime prevention, safety

By Julianne Peixoto

August 5, 2014 Updated Aug 5, 2014 at 11:36 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The annual National Night Out took place Tuesday night in thousands of communities nationwide -- including several in Broome County.

"It's a night where communities around the country come together and say, you know, we've had enough with crime," said Endicott Police Chief Michael Cox. "And we're going to stand together."

The themes of crime prevention, emergency preparedness and community engagement were echoed in thousands of communities Tuesday night in honor of National Night Out.

"The main thing is to meet with the people and get to know them as well as them getting to know us," said Broome County Sheriff David Harder. "Not just the law enforcement side, but the emergency service people, the EMS people -- it’s a nice community event."

In Endicott and in the Town of Maine, people got to climb inside emergency personnel vehicles, enjoy free food and entertainment.

A big purpose for the evening was to make police officers, firefighters and medical responders seem more approachable to children.

"We get the kids to see the police officers and know the police officers, and know that they’re their friends, they’ll help them," said Captain of Endicott Auxiliary Police Department Jack Dalton. "They don’t have to be afraid of them. Today everyonoe’s afraid of the policeman, you don’t have to be afraid of a policeman."

The Oasis after school program was showcased at Endicott's National Night Out event.

They are a group of students who spend their after-school time beautifying the community through gardening and clean-up projects.

"It’s really helped me mature as a person, it’s kept me off the streets," said Oasis student Nick Fitzpatrick. "And it’s also helped me fix the community or make the community look better."

Public safety officials also spread the "community watch-dog" message at both events, asking residents to call 911 if they see a crime taking place or a suspicious act.