Make every night a Night Out

Published 10:38 am Friday, August 9, 2013

The annual National Night Out was observed in Franklin the other evening, and brought residents together with police and even fire and rescue personnel for a relaxed encounter.

In many communities that participate, this event has become a block party that combines fun with a serious purpose: being watchful for criminal behavior.

Naturally, we think it’s a fine idea for residents and law enforcement, etc., to get to know one another. Too often, we think, police are viewed with mistrust and suspicion, even by law-abiding people. But when we take the time to know the men and women who serve the rules of the road and laws of the land, we find they’re as human as us, and share many of the same concerns. Therefore, the police should be accorded not only with respect, but also consideration and even friendliness.

That should also be emphasized to youngsters in recognizing officers can be their friends. Having their presence in schools can help in that cause.

We also want to suggest that while neighborhoods in Western Tidewater can’t host Night Out functions every evening, they can organize into groups that are watchful night and day year around.

This does not mean for individuals to become vigilantes who take matters into their own hands when suspicious behavior is witnessed. The tragedy of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman last year in Florida supports that reason alone.

Being watchful not only helps police help communities, but also bonds them against crime that erodes.