Mpls takes 1st in National Night Out event

Minneapolis continues to be the National Night Out gold standard for cities with populations greater than 300,000. The city won the eventâÄôs top award for cities of that size for the sixth time in the past eight years. More than 60,000 Minneapolis residents gathered at 1,111 events during the 25th annual event, held in neighborhoods across the city on Aug. 5. Southeast Como Neighborhood Coordinator James De Sota said he thinks the yearly event has helped reduce crime in the neighborhood. De Sota said its success can be attributed to police promotion of the event and the involvement of the crime prevention specialists in the neighborhoods. He said the event brings the community together, even if itâÄôs only once a year. âÄúUnfortunately, we donâÄôt always see as much continuation the rest of the year from National Night Out, but for what it is, itâÄôs certainly a worthwhile program,âÄù he said. De Sota said the key to the event is introducing people to each other so they can continue that relationship throughout the rest of the year. He said when people are looking out for their neighbors, crime can go down. âÄúWhen you see that something is amiss, you are more likely to call that neighbor or call the authorities,âÄù De Sota said. âÄúThatâÄôs where it can be a big influence on crime patterns.âÄù Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia said the longstanding partnership between the community and the police department contributes to the success of the event. Garcia said when police team up with community partners, it adds more eyes and ears to crime prevention efforts. He said it builds trust when people in the community get to meet the people patrolling the neighborhood. This year, Minneapolis finished ahead of San Antonio, the Washington, D.C., area and Houston. National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch , which bases its ranking on a communityâÄôs overall National Night Out effort, including the quality and size of the overall campaign, law enforcement involvement, neighborhood participation and special events. âÄúPeople here in the Twin Cities enjoy getting together, especially when youâÄôre talking late summer,âÄù De Sota said. âÄúMeeting their new neighbors and sharing stories, it certainly is part of the fabric of Minnesota at this point.âÄù