Minneapolis aims to be National Night Out leader againby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Neighborhoods across the country will be holding block parties Tuesday evening as part of National Night Out, the annual event that encourages people to get to know their neighbors and work together to prevent crime.
The city of Minneapolis, whose participation rate has led the nation for cities of its size, expects another strong showing this year.
As of Monday, 1,133 events had registered with the city. About three-fourths of those involved streets being blocked off to traffic, said Carol Oosterhuis, a crime prevention specialist at the Minneapolis Police Department.
Oosterhuis said there are always more events that don't register with the city, but she said the number of registered events is about 100 more than last year.
"We've always had a wonderful show on National Night Out and we're glad that there's even more people participating," she said. The participation rate in Minneapolis has led cities with more than 300,000 residents seven of the last nine years, Oosterhuis said.
Oosterhuis attributes the high participation rate to promotion efforts as well as a high interest level among residents.
"Part of it's because we've had people in the police department that have encouraged people to participate, but another thing is that we love summer in Minnesota, and we love anytime that we can celebrate and be with each other," she said.
It's the 27th year for National Night out. Cities across Minnesota, including Duluth, St. Paul, St. Cloud and Rochester, are all participating in tonight's festivities.