South Florida: Block Parties, Backpacks, and Barbecues to aid Crime Prevention

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In areas throughout South Florida, National Night Out Against Crime looks different than you might expect. A family-style celebration complete with games, food and prizes is helping connect communities with their local law enforcement agencies and services available to to citizens.

The idea behind National Night Out Against Crime is one based in educating neighborhoods, in drug and crime prevention. But that doesn’t mean your typical slide-show presentation at the community center. Law enforcement agencies have built an approach that draws and engages crowds, sometimes more than 15,000 at one event. What is the secret to the successful events? Make it a party.

Take for example Margate. The 2010 census reports a population of about 53,000. Of that population, more than 13,000 turned out for the National Night Out Against Crime’s Block Party two years ago. Last year, pouring rain dampened the celebration, but around 10,000 individuals are expected to participate on August 1.

This year’s Margate Police Department event is planned for August 1 at the Margate Sports Complex. Free food, carnival rides, live entertainment and the Marlins’ Mascot are just part of the draw. Getting to know local law enforcement officers and staff of support agencies, that’s what connects the community with its leaders.

The City of Margate has received National recognition for their work in what their website says is an effort to, “…send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime.”

There’s something for everyone at the events. Delray Beach is handing out free backpacks for school kids. Dania Beach is offering ice cream and bounce houses; Fort Lauderdale has Food Trucks and giveaways; Tamarac has pony rides. Hollywood is holding at least four events, and there is plenty of fun available at all of the National Night Out Against Crime occasions.

Many areas in South Florida are holding events on August 1. Some of the participants include:

Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Margate, Miramar, Parkland, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, West Park

Areas planning October events include:

Hallandale Beach, Lauderhill, Oakland Park, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, and Pembroke Pines

This is not a complete list of events, so please be sure to check your local Police Department’s community website for specific information of dates and times of events near you.

All of the free events will allow opportunities for you to learn more about your local law enforcement agencies and interact with your neighborhood support teams to learn about ways to help prevent drug abuse and crime in your area.

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