In an effort to build community and prevent crime, the
City of Richmond celebrated the 27th annual National
Night Out Tuesday with block parties throughout the
city. The city joined 35 million citizens around the country
Police officers and firefighters visited 24 different
neighborhoods across Richmond that were holding block parties.
City officials including Police Chief Chris Magnus, Mayor
Gayle McLaughlin, City Manager Bill Lindsay and Fire Chief
Michael Banks attended the kick-off ceremony and party
held at the Target Store on Macdonald Avenue.
The event offered music performances by The
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, free hot
dogs and hamburgers, and an appearance by the Richmond
Fire Department’s demo unit, which showed kids what
to do in case of a fire. A bounce house and the free
face-painting clowns were also very popular.
“What a pleasure it is to know that our crime prevention
is working in the city of Richmond. This is a tribute to
a collective effort in the city,” said Mayor McLaughlin,
referring to the city’s decreasing crime rate. “People
are working together and the city needs more of that.”
For Chief Chris Magnus, the event was a great opportunity
for residents to connect with the police, because “really
we solve crimes through relationship-building,” he said.
Magnus also mentioned the importance of neighbors working
together to help prevent crime. “The police can’t be everywhere
all the time, so it pays to have in the neighborhood folks
that are looking out for each other.”
Additionally, Fire Chief Banks said, “National Night out
gives us an opportunity to send our message of fire safety
throughout the city.”
Other community organizations and business were also represented
at the Target parking lot block party. For instance, nonprofit Building
Blocks for Kids, the Contra Costa County Conflict Resolution
Program and Target all had tables at the event, where people
were giving out information about their organizations and
handing out trinkets.
City officials were also available to talk with residents.
The elected officials left, however, to go on a community
caravan along with police officers and firefighters to
tour some of the other neighborhood block parties throughout
the city. The tour gave the police officers an opportunity
to get reacquainted with the residents of their beat. As
residents heard the sirens of police cars and fire engines
approaching their party, they clapped in excitement.
Each neighborhood found its own way to connect with the
community, and each party had its own feel. The Marina
Bay block party at 1 Marina Lakes Drive set out tables
hosted by the different condominium committees from the
complex and encouraged residents to visit so people could
walk around and get information on the different committees.
They had cookies, coffee and fliers with information.
The Richmond Heights block party at Tiller Park organized
a potluck with music, hot dogs and kids’ attractions such
as a face-painting fairy and residents dressed up as cartoon
characters Winnie the Pooh, Gossamer and Belle (from The
Beauty and the Beast.)
“It’s good to see everyone in the community getting together
and having a good time and see the police and fire department
too,” said Belle, played by neighborhood resident Elizabeth
Thompson. “It is a lot of fun.”
“Anytime you bring people together is important,” said
Michael Rogers, a Richmond Heights resident. “When police
get to talk with the neighbors, I think it’s great.”