SOMD – The 38th annual National Night Out(NNO) was celebrated all across Southern Maryland and throughout the U.S. on Tuesday, August 3. The event began in 1984, through an already established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations, and volunteers across the nation. The first annual National Night Out involved 2.5 million neighbors across 400 communities in 23 states, and the event continues to grow every year.

National Night Out began simply with neighbors turning on their porch lights and sitting in front of their homes. Over the years, it has become a much more organized event with neighborhoods hosting block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits, and more. The events are held every year on the first Tuesday in August.

National Night Out events are meant to empower citizens and provide valuable information to neighborhoods. National Night Out increases connections between those who serve and their neighborhoods by shining a spotlight on community police programs.

Through a variety of programs, such as drug prevention, town watch, and neighborhood watch, National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals to let them know that neighborhoods are organized and are determined to fight back.

Calvert County held events in at least eleven locations throughout the county between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on August 3 with local agencies attending the events and sharing information and resources. Law enforcement officers and the county’s Fire, Rescue, and EMS personnel were on hand at many of the locations. Patuxent View Association is holding its event this Saturday evening from 4-7 p.m. in Prince Frederick.

St. Mary’s County celebrated the 38th National Night Out last night and included 24 neighborhoods. The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police, the Department of Natural Resources, the St. Mary’s County Health Department, Volunteer Fire and Rescue squads, and many businesses and community volunteers participated in the events.

In Prince George’s County, the city of Glenarden hosted a free event for NNO with music, games, food, and fun for the whole family from 6-9 p.m.

The Bowie Police Department hosted an NNO event with music, food, games, and displays from 6-8 p.m. Anne Arundel County held police K-9 demonstrations, provided opportunities for pictures with firefighters and crafts and activities for children as well as “touch a truck” opportunities with police vehicles and fire trucks.

National Night Out has proven to be an effective, inexpensive, and enjoyable program to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships in our fight for a safer nation. The benefits our community derives from NNO will most certainly extend well beyond one night. If you’re interested in hosting a National Night Out event in your neighborhood next year, the time to get started is now. For more information about National Night Out, contact the National Association of Town Watch at