Neighbors getting to know their neighbors -- and finding out who doesn't belong -- is one of the best ways to prevent residential crimes, authorities say.
That is why Tri-Citians are encouraged to turn on their porch lights, go outside, lock their doors and meet people who live around them Tuesday for National Night Out 2011.
"It gives people an opportunity to sit down and meet with their neighbors," said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police crime prevention specialist. "Getting to know who they are makes their neighborhoods more secure."
Law enforcement agencies around the Mid-Columbia -- and throughout the country -- will be participating in block watch parties, barbecues and other National Night Out festivities.
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This is the 28th year for National Night Out and the 28th time Kennewick police have joined with residents to help make the community safe.
Neighbors planning to participate in the annual event can have a Kennewick police officer stop by to share some crime prevention and other safety tips. Just call Blatman at 582-1351 to schedule a visit from an officer.
In Richland, a community-wide National Night Out event is from 5 to 9 p.m. at Columbia Point Marina Park, 660 Columbia Point Drive.
The event, sponsored by the city of Richland and Target stores, will feature free hot dogs, chips, cookies and sodas to the first 300 people, games and activities and bounce houses.
There also will be live music by Primitive Circus, sponsored by the Friend of the Richland Public Library, emergency vehicles and safety demonstrations, along with drawings and give-aways.
Richland police volunteers also will be fingerprinting children from 5 to 7 p.m.
Across the river in Pasco, officers will be in seven neighborhoods from 6 to 8 p.m. to get to know residents and answers their questions.
National Night Out block parties are planned in the 300 block of North Charles Street, the Tierra Vida neighborhood at 3525 E. A St., 4400 block of Campolina Lane, the Mediterranean Villas at Vincenzo Drive and Mia Lane, The Villages of Chapel Hill Apartments in the 6300 block of Chapel Hill Drive, the Riviera Trailer Village in the 700 block of Road 32 and the 8700 block of Desoto Drive.
In Hermiston, residents can call Officer Erica Franz at 541-667-5112 for more information about National Night Out events or to get on the police department's list.
Sunnyside police also are participating in National Night out, with block parties planned through the city. But, they have also planned an city-wide family event Wednesday with HAPO Community Credit Union and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.
The fun is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Sunnyside Central Park, 549 S. Fourth St. This year's theme is "Believe in Sunnyside," and the event features a super hero decor with super hotdogs, super hero sundaes and face painting.
Recess Monkey, a popular children's band from Seattle, is making a repeat appearance at the event this year after getting rave reviews from parents and children last year, organizers said.
There also will be a sidewalk chalk art contest with children encouraged to draw how they can be a super hero and change the city of Sunnyside for the better. To sign up for the contest, contact Charlotte Hinderlider at 509-837-2120 or email email@example.com.
For more information about National Night Out, go to nationaltownwatch.org/nno/ or contact your local law enforcement agency.