Amsterdam will join thousands of other cities and towns across the country Tuesday evening for the annual National Night Out. The chance to bring members of the community together with law enforcement in an attempt to take a stand against crime will be hosted locally by the Amsterdam Police Department, in conjunction with the city's recreation department. Activities will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. in Veterans Field along Locust Avenue.
We urge everyone who can make it to take part. While the event is taking place, residents are being asked to participate by locking their doors, turning on outside lights, and spending the night out with neighbors, police and community organizers. Even if you can't get out Tuesday, you can still send a message by turning on your porch light.
Organizers say the event will help make neighborhoods safer by fostering closer relationships between patrol officers and local citizens, and will heighten crime prevention and drug awareness. The event will feature food and drinks, community safety information, community organization information, free children's activities, K-9 demonstrations, free admission to the city pool, music by DJ Justin, and a movie in the park.
Overall, the night will involve more than 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases around the world. In total, more than 37 million are expected to participate in National Night Out.
The goals of the program are admirable. The intent is to heighten awareness of crime prevention, generate support for local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit, and promote cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
It's an opportunity for residents to meet their local officers on an informal basis rather than as a victim of a crime or during an emergency. It's intended to promote neighborhood spirit and police and community partnerships.
Compared to larger metropolitan areas, Amsterdam and the rest of the Mohawk Valley are not terribly unsafe places to live. Granted, there are problems -- as there are everywhere. Some of the illegal activity, such as vandalism, could be reduced by folks simply looking out for each other and reporting anything out of the ordinary.
That's what Tuesday night's program hopes to point out. And by taking part, you can help send a message to criminals.