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National Night Out events promote awarenes, unite community

The Yerkes Family attends Oak Forest National Night Out event Tuesday Aug. 5 2014. (Right left) Andrew SamanthAllis(stroller) James. |

The Yerkes Family attends the Oak Forest National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (Right to left) Andrew, Samantha, Allison (stroller) and James. | Evan F. Moore/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 7, 2014 10:41PM



The 18th annual National Night Out took place Tuesday at the gazebo at city hall in Oak Forest.

The Oak Forest Crime Prevention Commission, Oak Forest Police Department and residents participated.

The event featured guided tours of the Oak Forest Police Department; open discussions with members of the police, fire and emergency management departments.

Families were entertained with free face painting, jump houses, refreshments and free school supplies.

Oak Forest Crime Prevention Commission Chairman Dennis Mitzner believes the message of National Night Out is a simple one.

“This is an anti-crime, anti-drug, anti-violence event,” Mitzner said. “Promoting awareness. When they see something that doesn’t look right, call the police immediately. Let them come out and see what is going on.”

Oak Forest City Clerk Scott Burkhardt says the event is great way for local law enforcement and residents to connect.

“We try to provide information to the community,” Burkhardt said.” Ways to prevent crime and also to secure their homes. Things such as making sure your car doors are locked at night. Making sure your garage door is closed.”

As people came into the event, they were given a packet that consisted of pamphlets on disaster preparedness and crime prevention tips from the crime commission along with a neighborhood watch sign that had the contact information of local law enforcement.

Vivica Bell has lived in Oak Forest for seven years. She brought her daughter, Jakilah, 11, out to the event. This was her first National Night Out.

“I love the set up. It’s nice,” Bell said. “This is our first time here. I heard about it through the mail. Everyone here is friendly.”

National Night Out is a crime and drug prevention event organized by the National Association of Town Watch and the Department of Homeland Security. The program is dedicated to the development and promotion of organized, law enforcement-affiliated crime and drug prevention programs.

For more information, contact the Crime Prevention Commission at 708-687-4050, ext. 1603.



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