Night Out promotes unity in crime fight

With tightening budgets for law enforcement agencies across the state, residents who keep an eye out for each other and for suspicious activity is crucial to keeping neighborhoods safe.

Residents across the Northern San Joaquin Valley will join people across the country Tuesday evening for National Night Out to curb criminal activity and strengthen community programs to keep neighborhoods safe.

Tuesday's events are geared toward strengthening partnerships between law enforcement officials and residents in Stanislaus County. Organizers hope the parties will generate participation in anti-crime programs like Neighborhood Watch.

"The reality is we can't be everywhere at once," said Modesto police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen. "These are tough times, and (help from the public) is as important now as it ever has been."

National Night Out activities include block parties, ice cream socials, visits from police and representatives of other safety agencies, neighborhood parades, flashlight walks, contests and youth programs. Participants are asked to turn on outdoor lights to show solidarity.

Events scheduled in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and foothills range from a group in Oakdale having its first event to an Elvis-impersonating canine (no word if he performs "Hound Dog") at one of Modesto's longtime Neighborhood Watch neighborhoods, and a barbecue and presentation at Hartford Place condominiums.

To find a local National Night Out event, go to or call your local law enforcement agency.