National Night Out in Shady Side, a 19-Year Tradition
Anne Arundel County Police and Fire plus other public safety organizations will be on hand at the Shady Side “National Night Out” event on Aug. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. The Night Out will take place at the Lula G. Scott Center in Shady Side.
Shady Side’s event is the local component of the national event. In fact, over 37 million people in 15,325 communities from all 50 states plus the U.S. territories and Canada participated in last year’s National Night Out, organizers said. Celebrating its 19th year, the National Night Out is held to show support for community watch organizations and crime-free neighborhoods.
During early 1980s, the United States faced upwards of 10 percent unemployment. With that economy, crime was a big problem too—and growing. Some citizens got fed up with being too afraid to go out at night, so they started banding together to “take back the streets” of their communities.
Night watch patrols were formed. Commonly called “Orange Hat” patrols, they would help local police deal with any number of neighborhood nuisances. These were things like abandoned cars and homes, non-working street lights, trash cleanup, suspicious people, rabid or feral animals and other problems that can be attractive to criminals.
The patrols often worked together with police. In fact, the partnership became a popular model for law enforcement. Currently, there is a similar focus on nuisance properties in place in Anne Arundel County where police look for “habitual addresses.” For example, shuttering an abandoned house that is being used for drug dealing, or helping couples frequently involved in domestic infighting to get counseling, or finding resources for runaway teens—all of these things can have a huge impact on how safe the community feels.
In Shady Side and in other areas, this partnership between the community and police is celebrated at National Night Out. Here, local police bring out patrol cars, K-9, the Maryland State Police helicopter, and Anne Arundel County Fire Department trucks and ambulances. These vehicles all show up to introduce residents to the latest technologies that are being used in the name of public safety.
Music will be provided by local musicians and DJs.
Mohan Grover, the “unofficial mayor of Shady Side” and owner of Renno’s Market works with a small army of volunteers to provide food for the hundreds of residents that show up. That’s right, they give away free supper to about 400 people.
Charlee Harris is another one of the organizers and she has been getting business commitments from South Countians including:
- Christophers Fine Foods
- Rita’s Italian Ice
- Cindy Walsh of Morgan and Walsh
- Bucks Photography
- Tender Loving Care, adult daycare
- St. Matthews Church
- Anchor Insurance
- Dan Bongino, Maryland candidate for U.S. Senate
- Moonbounce Unlimited
- Ledo’s Pizza
- Domino’s Pizza
Harris said that for the past three years, 400 to 500 people show up for an evening out.
So stop by, meet your neighbors, shake hands with the police officers assigned to patrol your area. Visit with business owners and church leaders. Chat with firefighters and paramedics. Talk to politicians. See members of the South Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations.
Booths are still available for a donation to the event. Contact Charlee Harris 443-534-8987 for more information.