Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

LCSO promotes block parties for National Night Out

By: Shelley Widhalm | The Surveyor | July 14, 2022 | Local News

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office will be stopping in neighborhoods Aug. 2 to encourage neighbors to get to know each other.

And it will start with block parties, cookouts and ice cream socials during National Night Out.

“Most people don’t know who they live next to, and we’ve lost that sense of community,” said Sgt. Jim Anderson, Berthoud police chief for LCSO. “That is one of the most important parts of community policing.”

National Night Out is a crime prevention-based campaign that promotes partnerships between communities and first responders to increase neighborhood awareness and make them better, safer places to live. The program is in its 39th year nationwide.

“It’s just a program to get people together in neighborhoods, so they can start knowing each other, so they start watching out for each other, more of a Neighborhood Watch thing,” Anderson said. “I really would like to see the neighborhoods get together and start learning who each other is by name, by face, and build back up that sense of community.”

The LCSO offered National Night Out in Berthoud since 2014 but due to the pandemic didn’t hold it in 2020. The event has been held in parks, including Pioneer and Fickle, and most recently in neighborhoods. Anderson wanted to bring the event back to Fickle Park this year, but due to scheduling decided to keep it in neighborhoods.

The idea is for neighbors to learn about each other’s habits, so that they know if something seems amiss or is wrong. They then can call the neighbor directly or report their suspicions to law enforcement. They also can start a Neighborhood Watch or other anticrime program, which LCSO will help coordinate but won’t operate.

Neighborhood Watch aims to reduce crime, increase positive communications among neighbors, and encourages neighbors to watch out for each other, such as during certain times of the day or when they’re doing their regular activities like walking the dog.

In Berthoud, deputies will stop at gatherings that are registered through the LCSO to answer questions, address any concerns and provide details about Neighborhood Watch and other programs. The LCSO also will send out deputies, and the sheriff will be making visits. Other first responders may also participate.

The gatherings can include cookouts, potlucks, ice cream socials, bike parades, coffee and cookie get-togethers, and block parties. They can be held in someone’s yard, a nearby yard or church, or on a public street, as long as a special event permit is filled out through the LCSO.

“We answer their questions, just participate in whatever they’re doing,” Anderson said. “We share crime prevention tips to them … and just mingle, talk to the people and get to know them.”

Deputies generally will stay for about 15 minutes. Last year, they visited two gatherings and in 2019, they visited five or six.

“It’s a community-building campaign that promotes police and community partnerships,” Anderson said. “It’s supposed to enhance relationships between neighborhoods and law enforcement.”

Neighborhoods interested in hosting a gathering are asked to register with the LCSO by contacting Barbara Bennet at [email protected] or 970-682-0597. For more information about National Night Out, visit https://www.larimer.gov/sheriff/national-night-out. The site provides a checklist of steps to take.

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