Night Out Against Crime coming to area Aug. 2

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — Bad guys, you’ve got to stay away.

That’s the message some members of the St. John the Baptist and St. Charles communities are hoping to send out on Tuesday, Aug. 2, when the 22nd Annual National Night Out Against Crime will be celebrated across the nation.

In an effort to unite citizens with their neighbors and law enforcement to help build a barrier keeping violence and other crimes out of their neighborhoods, residents are being asked to hold block parties for the night.

The purposes of National Night Out is: Crime and drug prevention awareness; to create support in anti-crime efforts; strengthen the community spirit, and as well as police-community relations; and to send a message to criminals that communities are ready to fight back.

Capt. Greg Maurin, with the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Department, said he believes these nights out have a real impact on the communities.

“Each year, people do it again, and also there are new people,” Maurin said, “If a neighborhood feels it is a waste of time, they wouldn’t do it again.”

Maurin said this is at least the 10th year St. John Parish has been involved in the national event, and though he can’t say statistically if it makes a difference, he stresses the importance of neighborhoods working together.

“Even if it just gets the neighborhoods communicating, I think it just does a whole lot of good,” he said.

According to Maurin, St. John Parish usually averages about 40 parties a year, and, at press time, there are approximately 20 registered. Maurin said there are a couple of parties registered on the West Bank, with several in Garyville and Reserve, and the majority in LaPlace.

“We’re about halfway to where we should be, but hopefully we will get our 40 parties,” Maurin said.

In St. Charles Parish, the general number of parties are somewhere from 10 to 15, according to Capt. Pat Yoes.

“We have them on both sides of the river, and some are elaborate, some are little block parties” Yoes said.

Like Maurin, Yoes believes any time neighbors can get together to talk crime prevention is a positive thing.

“Some neighbors don’t get to know each other,” Yoes said, “This gives a chance to focus and generate discussion and sort of agree to watch over each other properties.”

In St. John Parish, Maurin also said citizens can register at the last minute, and they will be put on a list that representatives from the sheriff’s office divvy up, and then go to make visits.

According to Yoes, the citizens of St. Charles also have the opportunity to register on Tuesday evening, and the sheriff’s department also strives to reach every party.

“We’ll send a deputy out to socialize and talk to them about crime prevention,” he said.

In St. John Parish, contact Capt. Maurin at 652-7058 to register. In St. Charles Parish, call 783-1355, and ask for Susie Breaux.