SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Springfield Police Department and local neighborhood watch groups spent Sunday afternoon informing families of various community resources, teaching safety and providing fun activities for kids.
It’s all to kick off National Night Out, which highlights partnerships between police and community members throughout the country. Springfield’s Island Park was filled with families for this kick off event.
“We encourage people to get some information here, have fun, take that information back to their neighborhoods and get to know their neighbors,” said Tana Steers, Crime Prevention Specialist for the Springfield Police Department.
While there were a number of fun activities for kids, most of the booths also taught families about neighborhood resources. “We have, I believe, about 35 information booths that are mostly public resources where we have some drug prevention information, child safety, gun safety,” said Steers.
It’s all part of a collaboration between the Springfield Police Department and the local neighborhood watch programs. Right now about 100-150 people are involved with the neighborhood watch and they’re trying to expand.
“I know with the, what’s been going on lately with a case in Florida people might be a little reluctant to join neighborhood watch but there’s two different types of neighborhood watch programs,” said Steers.
“Our purpose is to be basically the eyes and the ears for the police department. We aren’t vigilantes, we don’t carry weapons, we just, the goal is to get neighbors to know neighbors,” said Pamela Freeman, Springfield neighborhood watch board president.
Program leaders said it’s all about getting to know your neighbors, which can help people notice if something suspicious is happening where they live. “But this is like get rid of crime, you know, this is to kick crime out of the neighborhood, and be happy, healthy neighbors,” Freeman said.
August 6th is the National Night Out. It’s a day for cities to heighten crime awareness and strengthen the police and community partnerships. Groups will be at six different parks throughout Springfield for that celebration.