Wednesday, August 6, 2008

NOAC 2008

Well... last night was the night. Our annual Night Out Against Crime BBQ. And it was really a lot of fun!! Other than attendance and that I forgot to bring the camera out and take pictures, everything came off pretty much as planned.

There were about 12 neighborhood kids (ages 2-13) who participated in sidewalk chart art, horseshoes, frisbee, playing on the Castle and... everyone's favorite the water balloon fight. One of the sidewalk chalk drawings had a little heart in one corner that said "Kathy Rocks." How cool is that? I liked all the soaking wet hugs, too!

Along with the kids, we hosted about 30 adults. Everyone had a good time socializing and meeting some of the neighbors they didn't know or don't see very often. I think everyone met at least one neighbor they didn't know before. Which is, at least partly, the point of these shindigs.

We also got incredible support from the Salt Lake City Police Department!! I had called asking if we might get a patrol officer to stop by and socialize for a few minutes and give a "tour" of the technology they have in the cars now. What we got: the Chief of Police, 5-6 patrol officers, 2 motorcycle officers, a SWAT officer, a gang officer, reps from Youth Services, Victim Advocates, Mobile Neighborhood Watch, Parking Services and a couple of detectives. I'm not sure my neighborhood has ever had so many police in one spot at the same time before!

SLCPD talked to most of the adults for a few minutes and I think we found the right resources to solve a problem with a little converted garage apartment thing in the alley where someone has run drugs and that was supposed to be closed to habitation many years ago. That it was inhabited and causing problems again sure seemed to get the detectives' attention, anyway. One of the cops took several of the kids out back to play cops and robbers. Can you imagine being a 9 year old boy and playing cops and robbers with a real cop? You could see they were having lots of fun and getting more positive attention than usual which was great. Jonathan looked he was about to burst from excitement a couple of times...

The two motorcycle officers gathered all of the kids (and adults who tagged along) out by their bikes. They talked for a few minutes about the technical stuff like engine size and how fast it goes. Then they had a couple of stories about catching a bad guy that had the kids really intrigued. Then they invited several of them to come see how the lights and sirens work. My young friend Loren was really excited to push one button and see the blue lights and another for the red. Then the officer told her to push a different one... and it was the siren. She wasn't expecting the loud noise and was so startled she jumped back about 5 feet to hide behind dad. Before her feet even hit the ground, she realized what it was and came down with a huge ear-to-ear grin. It was so good to see her let loose and be that carefree and happy!! Life too often weighs heavy on that little girl.

I declare NOAC 2008 a success!

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