Fighting Crime before It Happens National Night out Puts Emphasis on Prevention

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Wolak Daily Herald Correspondent

National Night Out in Naperville had a different theme than for many urban areas that recognized the annual event Tuesday.

In Chicago, neighbors vowed to "take back the streets" from drugs and gangs.

In the Naperville subdivision of West Wind and others around town, residents threw parties. Others went for walks or talks with old and new neighborhood friends.

For the fourth straight year, Naperville's participation in National Night Out was focused on crime prevention fun.

"Our hope is that we encourage citizens that crime prevention efforts start with them," said Marita Manning, crime prevention specialist for the Naperville police department. "We do law enforcement. That's the after-the-fact work."

Manning said just meeting neighbors, turning on lights, and shutting and locking doors - especially on cars and garages - are great crime deterrents.

Naperville subdivisions were on their own in planning events for National Night Out. But even in subdivisions with nothing officially organized, neighbors seemed to make an effort to hit the streets on the pleasant evening. Several families were out walking - flashlights in hand - in the Indian Hills neighborhood along Iroquois Avenue.

But people meeting people was a key focus of Tuesday evening.

A small organized get-together at May Watts School gave residents a chance to stop by and meet police officers and firefighters, who used the big red truck to draw an enthusiastic crowd of young residents. …