National Night Out: Tri-City residents urged to take stand against crime

It's time to go outside, get to know your neighbors and take a stand against crime.

The 29th Annual National Night Out is tonight, and law enforcement agencies in the Tri-Cities are encouraging neighbors to get outside, lock their doors and find out what's going on in their neighborhoods.

The goal of National Night Out is to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support for local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are fighting back, according to National Night Out officials.

Richland, Kennewick and Pasco are planning events tonight.

In Pasco, several neighborhoods plan to spend the evening outside from 6 to 8 p.m. with their neighbors and Pasco police officers, said Capt. Jim Raymond.

Officers will be at each location to show their support, answer questions and get to know the neighbors in each of their patrolareas.

Pasco has 15 neighborhoods participating in the Block Watch program, and anyone interested in starting one in their neighbor can call the police department at 545-3414.

Richland and Kennewick are having community events at one location in support of National Night Out.

Richland's Night Out 2012 event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at Howard Amon Park South, which is behind the Richland Community Center.

Kennewick's event is being staged in conjunction with its annual City Night from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Southridge Sports and Events complex.

Kennewick has been participating in National Night Out since the beginning of the program. This year, officials decided to combine the events to give residents a chance to make a statement about fighting crime, while also learning more about their city, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police's crime prevention specialist.

At Kennewick's event, there will be free hot dogs, ice cream and beverages, along with information booths, police and fire vehicles and recreation activities.

Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers also plans to debut a program called My ID Club, where children younger than 16 can get a free picture ID card at no cost.

The goal of My ID Club is to provide an ID card to the child and parent for safety purposes. Information about medical issues and allergies can also be included on the ID, Blatman said.

The program is sponsored by Moon Security and Kennewick General Hospital. Information about child safety also will be available.

Once the event at Southridge is over, Blatman said police officials are encouraging people to go back to their homes, turn on their lights, lock their doors and go out in their neighborhoods.

-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com