National Night Out

Peace And Nonviolence in Abingdon at the William King Museum of Art with the Virginia Highlands Festival, August 7, 2007
“Live Fairies to Go” workshop 6:30p.m to 8:30p.m.
Adults – $30; Children – $15 (and you can keep your creation!)
PANinA’s “Knight Out” celebrates our safe, connected community.
Memberships in PANinA will be available.
Sponsorship of PANinA will also be welcome.

National Night Out Report
Submitted August 23, 2007

Since this was our first year with the program and I got such a late start, it wasn’t much of a program. Our situation is further complicated because August 7th was about 2/3 of the way through our 16-day Virginia Highlands Festival – music, theater, antiques, arts, crafts, food, field trips, lectures, youth activities – so our American Dream town was somewhat preoccupied. I couldn’t even get a police officer to table with me!

Under my own logo, I did a Crime Rate Comparision study in which I compared the crime rates for seven different crimes in four locations in the southeastern US to the national average, and I made a poster with a bar graph of the results of the study as well as the raw data for Abingdon with a small amount of explanatory text. I displayed this poster along with the PANinA brochure and a few other handouts such as a Neighborhood Watch meeting schedule for the rest of ’07, “Statistics on Violence” from a national and international perspective, “Highlights of the Legislation” for HR808 to create a Cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence, and two brochures I picked up at Target about their community development program.

I dressed up as the Knight Out in my own way for a cost of less than $10. I made a suit of armor, including a helmet with noseguard, out of cardboard and duct tape, and under that, I was dressed in black slacks (not jeans), a black lace top with extra-long sleeves, and black short boots. My extra-long blonde hair was pulled back and clipped at the nape of my neck, and I wore a black stocking cap that covered my forehead and ears. I had a gray plastic short sword with a black handle. I had used the costume for the opening of the movie “Stardust” on August 2nd, and I’ll be using it again for the faerie festival on September 8th.

Project 365
Setting Goals for National Night Out 2008

As you can see, we can’t help but do better next year!

I don’t want to fault my local Target for not participating since the are new; they opened on July 29th. However, after much aggravation with the automated switchboard and a little telephone tag, I got in touch with corporate headquarters, and they helped me by telling me that they couldn’t help me and that I would have to go to the new Target store after it opened. I was very disappointed; I thought the National Night Out would be the ideal opportunity to welcome our new neighbor, and I had a prior commitment out of town for the last weekend in July.

Just prior to August 7th, I spoke to a store manager who gave me the name of the Asset Protection Specialist, but he wasn’t on the premises. I went there again earlier this week and met him. He promised his full support during the year and the participation of his Target store next year.

This town came out looking pretty good on my Crime Rate Comparison study, but Target, the local police, and I are interested in organizing our town into Neighborhood Watch groups. I just moved here a few months ago, but I understand that the program that used to exist has been inactive for more years than the police are willing to admit. I don’t care to be involved in the War on Drugs since, as the sign says, War Is Not The Answer. Besides, in this region, our biggest problem is prescription drug abuse, and the victims are getting their drugs from their doctors and their families.

I can think of two measures I can use to show progress on this project: the total number of people at each monthly meeting and the number of neighborhoods represented. Since the first meeting was in July, we will not be starting from zero. My goal is to be able to show a steady and significant increase on both measures.

In addition to the classroom-style formal meeting at the police station, I would like to see Block Captains organizing evening street dances or daytime picnics or neighborhood work days to help the elderly and handicapped or clean up litter – anything that will promote community pride and spirit and recognition of who belongs and who doesn’t. However, I would indeed be starting from zero on this part, so I would prefer to wait until next year to set specific, measurable goals for such activities.

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