Jul 162003
 
Authors: Shandra Jordan

Larimer County will join thousands of communities across the country in National Night Out Against Crime this summer.

On Aug. 5 from 5 to 9 p.m. residents throughout Larimer County plan to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and join neighbors and law enforcement officials for a variety of events including parades, barbecues, ice cream socials and more.

“The main point and focal point is neighbors and people getting out and socializing and having the sheriff and his deputies come out and visit the good citizens of Larimer County,” said Cpl. Walt Pestridge of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

The goals include: Heightening crime and drug prevention awareness, generating support for and participation in local anticrime efforts, strengthening neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and sending a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Wellington participated last year, and this year is throwing an even bigger event, said Linda Ellis, one of five people organizing events in Wellington and the executive director of Triad, program with senior citizens and law enforcement.

“After last year we thought if we got into this and got people involved we could get more people out, which is what we wanted to do,” Ellis said.

Ellis and her colleagues have reserved City Park and the Pavilion and will have fire trucks, emergency services, people representing the sheriff’s office and the K-9 Unit out that evening. They’re also working to have the Boy Scouts and the Boys and Girls Club organize games and contests for kids and are trying to decide what kind of contests to have, like bubble-gum blowing and fast-talking.

“It’s important for neighbors to know neighbors,” Ellis said.

With Wellington growing so quickly, Ellis said people don’t always get to know each other and watch out for each other like they used to.

This is the 20th annual such event across the country and in Larimer County, Pestridge said. In 2002, 33 million people in 9,800 communities in the United States, Canada, U.S. territories and military bases world-wide participated, according to a press release from the National Association of Town Watch, a sponsoring organization.

There is no fee for communities to participate. Volunteers organize the events. Communities that would like to contribute can call Pestridge at 498-5159.

“It’s something we need to get back to,” Ellis said. “People helping people.”

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