Communities in Northern Liberties, Port Richmond come out to meet law enforcement, interact with their neighbors
By Lindsey Nolen
Each year since 1984, the National Association of Town Watch invites members of the community to meet law enforcement officers, discover local resources and engage with other members of the community on Aug. 1 during National Night Out.
This year, the River Wards saw dozens of neighbors come to multiple locations to commemorate this year’s campaign.
In Northern Liberties, National Night Out was celebrated at Liberty Lands, a park located at 913 N. 3rd St. Here, members of the 26th Police District, including Capt. Krista Campbell, helped staff a face painting station, oversee a kid’s moonbounce and serve up hot dogs on the grill for attendees while a DJ kept background music flowing. Additionally, community resources, such as Vector Security, Saint Malachy Catholic School and the Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, were present to inform attendees of their services.
“National Night Out is important because it’s always a great idea to have your community and all your resources come out and meet the various people of the community,” Campbell said. “This way, the community is aware of what we have to offer, and [the police force] can meet different members of our community that we might not see on a regular basis.”
She added because the police department serves the community, it’s important they establish a rapport. With the purpose of protecting and serving the community, getting to meet residents through opportunities such as National Night Out becomes beneficial on both ends.
“We get to see the folks that live in the areas we patrol, and they get to see the officers that are doing the patrolling,” Campbell said. “Every district in the city changes on a year-to-year basis, but certainly the 26th District has seen a lot of development. Getting the opportunity to have new people to the area come out for the first time and folks who have been here forever is nice.”
Similarly, the National Night Out event that took place in The Home Depot parking lot in Port Richmond, located at 2539 Castor Ave., hosted numerous members of law enforcement and community residents. At this location, Sheriff Jewell Williams reached out to the neighbors and let them know the Philadelphia Police Department and Sheriff’s Officer are dedicated to serving them.
“[National Night Out] gives the community a sense of safety. It also gives the community a way to get involved and participate, as well as to encourage younger people,” Williams said. “It can give younger people a better direction by getting to know their police and sheriffs, and their neighbors.”
While offering the opportunity for neighborhood inclusivity, a diverse population of community members, ranging in age from infants to seniors, were able to walk around The Home Depot parking lot conversing and enjoying all the night had to offer. From games to art and more hot dogs, soft pretzels and water ice, there was something for everyone at the event, resulting in yet another successful National Night Out, officials said.
“It is just a great opportunity for everyone, police and neighbors, to come out and get to know each other,” said Northern Liberties resident Cora Turpin, who lives at 6th and Brown streets.