Own the evening Tuesday during Night Out Against Crime

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LAPLACE — Nearly 50 block parties are taking to the streets of St. John the Baptist Parish beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday in honor of Night Out Against Crime, an event that heightens crime and drug prevention awareness and strengthens the bond between the community and law enforcement.

It’s a social event as much as it is educational, founded on the idea that banding together sends a message to criminals, letting them know the community is aware and fighting back.

Night Out Against Crime has been celebrated in St. John for nearly 20 years and has roots in a larger, national program called National Night Out, according to Pastor Donald August Sr. of Rising Star Baptist Church in LaPlace.

August is hosting a party at his church complete with food and family-friendly outdoor activities such as volleyball and horseshoes. He said the neighborhood gatherings focus on fellowship within the community.

“It’s our opportunity to come out, promote unity and let criminals know we won’t let them overtake our neighborhoods,” he said.

He said Parish President Natalie Robottom and representatives from the Sheriff’s Office and Department of Fire Services are also part of the festivities, making rounds to visit as many parties as possible.

Sheriff Mike Tregre said Night Out Against Crime helps law enforcement maintain positive partnerships with the community.

Camaraderie is important, according to Tregre, because negative news often rises to the top, creating a gap between the police and the public that must be bridged to ensure successful cooperation and the safety of residents.

He has plans to make this year’s event memorable, with some officers dressing up as superheroes to visit parties and interact with children.

“St. John Parish residents consistently step up and take part,” Tregre said. “It’s always a good time, and there’s plenty of food. The official time is 6 to 9 p.m., but some parties go way beyond that.”

To electronically register a Night Out Against Crime party, visit stjohnsheriff.org/nightout_form_17.php.

For more information, call the St. John Sheriff’s Office at 985-652-9513 to speak to the community relations division.

— By Brooke Robichaux