National Night Out has been officially cancelled by the Greensboro Police Department.

Earlier in the summer there was hope in the Greensboro Police Department that National Night Out, an event designed to enhance the relationship between neighborhoods and police departments, could be held Tuesday, August 4 as scheduled.

At the end of July, the Police Department finally rescheduled National Night Out for Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Since it’s September and North Carolina has only just moved into Phase 2.5 of the statewide shutdown, the Police Department announced the event that gives regular folks an opportunity to interact with police officers under positive circumstance would be canceled for 2020. For many people the only opportunity they have to interact with police officers is in highly stressful circumstances. There is a big difference between talking to someone over a barbecue sandwich or a bowl of ice cream and talking to someone standing beside your car with blue lights flashing in your mirrors.

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.

The Police Department knew that National Night Out would be different this year and had requested that larger neighborhoods breakup into smaller sites so that the 25-person limit on outdoor mass gatherings could be complied with. Even with that limit now raised to 50 people under Phase 2.5, the Police Department made the decision to cancel.

National Night Out is also used to encourage neighborhoods, particularly neighborhoods with crime issues to organize Community Watch programs. Police Chief Brian James spoke about the success of Community Watch programs often when he was meeting with groups across the city in February and March. Those community meetings were also canceled by COVID-19.