History of National Night Out
National Night Out is an annual event that brings together neighbors and first responders to create community. It started when a community watch volunteer was unable to fill his program newsletter. As he reached out to other communities, he realized that hundreds of groups existed, but they had no shared platform to connect with each other or share information. Within a few years, he established the National Association of Town Watch.
Having a National Association was a way for community watch groups to share resources, assets, and information. It helped keep individual groups informed, engaged, and active in their communities. As communities and law enforcement supported the association, it continued to grow.
The National Association of Town Watch (NATW) first introduced the National Night Out campaign in August 1984. With its established network of crime prevention associations, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, and volunteers, the first National Night Out consisted of 400 communities in 23 states for about 2.5 million participants. It has since grown to include 38 million individuals throughout the 50 states, U.S. territories, and military bases. It is a community building campaign that promotes neighborhood fellowship, fosters police-community partnerships, and increases safety in local communities.
As we come out of a recently-enforced isolation mindset and culture, National Night Out strives to bring together 16,000 communities this year. California, alone, has 375 communities expected to participate. Some of the local towns taking part in National Night Out include Campbell, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, and San Jose.
Celebrated by most communities on the first Tuesday in August, National Night Out has come to include youth events, exhibits, block parties, festivals, cookouts, seminars, parades, safety demonstrations, and visits from emergency personnel.
One local San Jose community will even include an outdoor vaccination clinic as part of its event celebration this year. The Guadalupe Washington Neighborhood Association's vaccination event will be from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the Brenda Lopez Plaza (64 Oak St, San Jose 95110) in cooperation with the County Public Health department.
If you're closer to East San Jose, there are still opportunities to volunteer at the National Night Out at Emma Prusch Farm Park (647 S. King Rd. San Jose 95116). Sign up online to volunteer. For San Jose, in general, check out SJPD's National Night Out site.
Wherever you live, National Night Out is a great opportunity to go out for the evening and meet new friends, both in and out of uniform.