Community gets together for National Night Out   | August 7, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - August 7, 2009

Community gets together for National Night Out  

by Geoff Gillette

Hundreds of residents across Danville enjoyed a perfect summer night outdoors together on Tuesday, getting to know their neighbors and their local police force as part of the 26th annual National Night Out.

The event offers residents a chance to come together as a neighborhood and get to know one another. Not only is it good community spirit, but it also allows neighbors to have a better sense for what is happening on their blocks and knowing when something is out of place.

Resident Bob Riley has been getting out and meeting his neighbors in the Shadow Hills subdivision for over a decade.

"This is my street's 15th year participating. I heard about Oakland's participation years ago and thought, 'Although we don't have the violent crime problems of other areas, I could use the National Night Out as an excuse to meet my neighbors.'"

He said that the annual event allows some fun for everyone. "Everyone meets at the top of the court to chat, while the kids ride their bikes and play. Just normal, neighborly stuff – but we include everyone on the whole block."

Riley works not only for his block party but helps organize several throughout the neighborhood. A Safeway employee, he convinced his employer to donate ice cream to the event, which he delivered to the eight other block party locations.

"Some places do the big public gathering, where people just show up for the free food and then leave. Doing it as block parties is more productive. This way people actually talk and get to know one another," he said.

They also get a chance to know their local law enforcement. Volunteers and officers from both the Danville Police Department and the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department fanned out and stopped at dozens of block parties all through the town.

Residents had the chance to talk to the officers and discuss their concerns, while the officers and volunteers took the opportunity to talk about neighborhood safety as well as passing out glow necklaces to the area children.