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National Night Out heightens crime awareness

By Mike Joseph | 502nd Air Base Wing OL-A Public Affairs | Sept. 30, 2010

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LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — As part of a state-wide campaign, Lackland hopes to take a bite out of crime with its National Night Out block party Oct. 5, 7-9 p.m., at Lion Park.

Organized by the 802nd Security Forces Squadron, approximately 500 family members are expected to partake in the free food and activities.

Base organizations will have information booths and materials available along with demonstrations at the event.

The local base theme is, "Let's Give Criminals a Going-Away Party," and goes along with the national slogan, "It's America's Night Out Against Crime!" This is the third consecutive year Lackland has participated in San Antonio's award-winning NNO program.

State-wide, Texas moved NNO to the first Tuesday in October with hopes of cooler weather. Nationally, the event is held the first Tuesday in August.

"National Night Out is an opportunity to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness," said Staff Sgt. Stacie Smith, 802nd SFS, Pass and Registration NCO in charge. "Security Forces feels this awareness plays a role in reducing crime on base.

"We're also going to have fire and safety information available to help families deal with everyday emergency situations."

In addition to the information booths, there will be a military working dog demonstration and lighting ceremony. Among the children's activities are appearances by McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Dog. Identification kits and fingerprinting will also be available for children.

Sergeant Smith said the block party is designed for families and their children, and is open to the entire base whether they live on or off Lackland.

Participation in two crime prevention programs by the 802nd SFS will also be unveiled. Lackland will be a part of NNO's Project 365 and partner with Balfour Beatty Communities in a new outreach program.

Project 365 encompasses all NNO registered areas designating a particular problem area in their community before NNO 2011. Individuals from base communities and 802nd SFS community policing plan to develop a Neighborhood Watch program as part of Project 365.

Balfour Beatty, Lackland's private housing contractor, will provide two homes on Lackland and the Lackland Training Annex to be used for community outreach and education by Security Forces.

"Our intent is to generate support and participation in local anticrime programs," Sergeant Smith said. "We're telling criminals that our neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against crime."

Along with anticrime and drug prevention materials, there will also be registration forms for privately-owned firearms. Sergeant Smith said this is an opportunity for residents living in government-owned facilities or contracted housing to have the necessary documents to register those firearms with the 802nd SFS.

Unregistered privately-owned firearms are in violation of Lackland Air Force Base Instruction 31-101, Installation Security Program, and can result in an Article 92 charge.

For more information about NNO, call 671-7249.