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Planning Under Way For National Night Out
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Just a little over a month away, Escalon officials are already gearing up for the 2008 National Night Out.

Scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 5, Escalon will join communities across the country in celebrating 'America's Night Out Against Crime.'

This year marks the 25th annual National Night Out and Escalon has participated for the last several years, with officials seeking participants once again.

Celebrations in the past have included neighborhood barbecues, ice cream socials, fun and games for kids, potlucks and more. Goal of the National Night Out is to get neighbors out into the streets and local parks, getting to know each other and building a sense of camaraderie and security in the neighborhood, as well as sending a message to criminals that they are not welcome in the community. Escalon has traditionally had tremendous participation, officials said, and have even had to split up into two teams of visiting fire, police, ambulance and city personnel to make it around to all the neighborhood gatherings in the roughly three-hour window set aside for the event.

National Night Out is a crime and drug prevention event and is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and co-sponsored locally by Escalon Police Department. Representatives from the police department, Escalon Fire, Escalon Community Ambulance and the City of Escalon form a caravan and make their way around the community to the various block parties, stopping for a brief time at each one. Length of the visit is determined by how many neighborhood groups are taking part in the festivities.

"This is a night for America to stand together to promote awareness, safety and neighborhood unity," said National Project Coordinator Matt Peskin. "National Night Out showcases the vital importance of police-community partnerships and citizen involvement in our fight to build a safer nation. On Aug. 5, we invite neighborhoods nationwide to join us in giving crime and drugs a going away party."

For more information or to sign up for the Escalon National Night Out event, contact Dorothy Vandagriff at the Escalon Police Department, 838-7093.