Three Oceanside neighborhoods will celebrate National Night Out

Three Oceanside neighborhoods will celebrate National Night Out
A police K-9 unit greets residents at a former Night Out celebration at the Melba Bishop Recreation Center. This year, Night Out celebrations will be held at Joe Balderrama Park, Crown Heights Community Resource Center, and Libby Lake Park Aug. 5. File photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside communities of Eastside, Crown Heights and Libby Lake will each hold a National Night Out celebration and stand against crime Aug. 5.

Each neighborhood personalizes the celebration to fit its community.

Eastside is a traditional older neighborhood of single-family homes.

The Eastside Night Out celebration will be held at Joe Balderrama Park.

Planned activities include a police K-9 demonstration, outdoor movie, community resource information booths, food, music and dancing.

Crown Heights is a compact neighborhood with families living in close proximity to each other in multifamily homes and apartments.

The Crown Heights Night Out gathering will be held at the community resources center with an indoor movie and community resource information tables.

“The night is about bringing residents into the resource center itself,” Maria Yanez, management analyst for the Neighborhood Services Department, said.

Libby Lake is a mix of homes and apartments located around a manmade lake and park near Camp Pendleton’s back gate.

The Libby Lake neighborhood experienced two tragic shooting incidents at the park in 2013 and 2011.

“The neighborhood has gone through a lot in the last few years,” Yanez said.

The Libby Lake Night Out celebration will be held at Libby Lake Park. Police officers will be present to help build a sense of community safety and security.

There will also be food, children’s games, face painting, information on community resources and an opportunity to meet city staff.

“It’s a family-oriented event, we combine that with youth activities, crime prevention and alternatives for a safer neighborhood,” Yanez said.

Police and community partnership is a big part of the Night Out celebrations.

All three events will allow residents to meet community police and ask questions in an informal setting. Information on contacting police, anonymous crime reporting and resources for crime victims will be shared.

“We want to support residents as much as possible with crime prevention and resource access,” Yanez said.

Night Out events are free and open to the public.

National Night Out began in 1984 as a police and community partnership to stop crime, and soon became a national movement for residents to take back ownership of their communities.

Neighborhood Services Director Margery Pierce said early local efforts asked residents to turn on their porch lights in recognition of Night Out.

Efforts in Oceanside expanded to a peace march to honor fallen Police Officer Dan Bessant, who was ambushed and shot while on duty in 2006.

An annual peace march continues to be held to raise awareness about community safety.

Neighborhoods also hold community resource fairs and movie nights on Night Out to bring neighbors together and connect them with resources.

“It blossomed into an opportunity to create a sense of community by having these events,” Pierce said.

“Building community, that’s the message.”

For more information on Oceanside Night Out events, go to the city calendar at ci.oceanside.ca.us.

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