National Night Out – traditionally held the first Tuesday in August, which this year would be Tuesday, August 4 – has been postponed to Tuesday, Oct. 6.
National Night Out is sponsored by the Greensboro Police Department to bring back a sense of community to neighborhoods and enhance the relationship between neighbors and the Police Department.
Often when people interact with police officers, it is under stressful conditions, such as at the scene of a traffic accident or at a crime scene. National Night Out gives people an opportunity to interact with police officers under positive circumstances.
The Greensboro Police Department has won 23 national awards from the National Association of Town Watch based on community participation at National Night Out. More than 150 neighborhoods in Greensboro annually participate in this crime prevention effort.
No awards are handed out, but each year there is an unofficial competition between city councilmembers to see who can attend the most National Night Out events. Some have been known to go to a neighborhood event where the food was so good that they unofficially drop out of the competition.
The plan for the 2020 National Night Out is to encourage larger neighborhoods to break up into multiple smaller sites, since the crowds at National Night Out events often exceed the 25-person limit currently in place for outdoor gatherings and no one knows what restrictions will be in place in October.
However, even with the plan for smaller groups, it was decided that it would be wiser to postpone National Night Out for a couple of months in hopes that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic will be over by then.
The stated goals of National Night Out are to:
- Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness
- Generate engagement and support local anti-crime programs like community watch
- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships
- Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.