National Night Out – step outside, say hello

Thanks to the information superhighway many of us are comfortable chatting with online friends in far away places. Technology allows us to establish relationships with people we’ve never met face to face.

Sadly, there are those of us who haven’t said more than a polite hello, if that, to the people living next door. Tuesday night offers all of us a reminder that keyboard conversations shouldn’t become a substitute for the front porch variety – spending time with your neighbors.

Tuesday is National Night Out Against Crime – the perfect opportunity to step outside and meet your neighbor. Half Norman Rockwell, half community policing, National Night Out does more than ease the awkwardness of getting to know the strangers living a few feet from your home. It reminds us of the need to be aware of our surroundings all the time. We all know how to watch out for ourselves when we’re walking alone in a dark parking lot or some other similar situation. But do we apply those lessons to our homes and the streets we live on? Or do we come home every weekday and march straight inside our house never to be seen again until we step outside to mow the lawn once a week?

You don’t have to be a busybody to be a good neighbor. But being comfortable enough to find out whether a neighbor’s late night scream is an animated victory holler over a game of Scrabble or a call for help could make all the difference.

Just last week a Marysville family faced a terrifying situation when armed suspects forced their way inside their home late one night and ransacked the place, taking off with the father in one of the family’s vans. According to Herald articles, at least one neighbor suspected something was amiss when the usually quiet area was disrupted by a barking dog about the time of the crime.

Three Lake Stevens area teens really came through when they called police after spotting a man coming out of a wooded area where they were riding dirt bikes. The man asked for directions and the teens wisely pointed him away from their home. Although details surrounding the case are still sketchy, the teens apparently knew something wasn’t right with the situation and they didn’t simply dismiss it. Police arrested the man in connection with the Marysville robbery.

With our county growing in population and sprouting new housing developments and apartment complexes every week, we can’t afford not to get to know each other. If you’ve been looking for a summer party, here’s your chance – and you don’t even have to clean your house. Just step outside.

Check with your local police department for more information about National Night Out Against Crime activities in your area.

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