Tuesday's 34th annual National Night Out gives people a chance to meet their neighbors and law enforcement who protect the community.
"It's important for us to show our commitment to the community and be in touch with people and let them know we're here for them and appreciate everything they do for us," said Beverly Hodgess, administrative assistant to the Woodland Park police chief.
The event, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored by local communities, also is aimed at crime and drug prevention, said Jackie Kirby, spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
"Neighborhoods all across the nation are going to have a show of solidarity that they will not accept crime," she said. "They'll turn their lights on, lock their doors and participate in whatever activities are going on."
Criminals are less likely to target neighborhoods where residents watch out for each other's homes, Kirby said.
As per the custom during National Night Out, all residents are asked to lock the doors to their homes, turn on porch lights and spend time outside with neighbors and staff from law enforcement agencies.
Last year, 900 people attended the event in Woodland Park, and organizers expect at least 1,000 this year.
"It makes a difference," Hodgess said. "We had a lot of feedback from the community. They said how much they enjoyed it and wanted to help out this year."
Donations are helping fund the event, she said.
The national observance started in August 1984 and brings together law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, crime prevention associations and volunteers. Some 38 million people in 16,000 communities are expected to participate nationwide.
Tuesday's activities in the Pikes Peak region include:
Hundreds of Colorado Springs residents are expected to join in the celebration in conjunction with the Colorado Springs Police Department. Many neighborhoods have planned block parties, festivals and cookouts.
Unincorporated El Paso County
El Paso County commissioners will recognize National Night Out in a proclamation at 9 a.m. Tuesday at 200 S. Cascade Ave.
Coordinated neighborhood activities are happening at:
- Deercross Court (off Baptist Road), 6-8 p.m.
- Dane Balcon Park (Falcon), 6-8 p.m.
- 6515 Pahokee Drive (North Powers Boulevard and Palmer Park) 6-8 p.m.
- 8149-8219 Barnswallow Grove (Security-Widefield), 5-7 p.m.
- Medford Drive/Chemsford Street (Gleneagle), 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- 5240 Harrington Drive (off Bradley Road), 6-7:30 p.m.
- 20325 Wissler Ranch Road (Black Forest), 6-8 p.m.
- 14540 Latrobe Drive (Gleneagle), 6-9 p.m.
- 1985 Craig Drive (off North Gate), 6-8 p.m.
The 10th annual celebration starts at 4 p.m. at Soldier's Memorial Chapel on post.
The Fort Carson Directorate of Emergency Services will host the event with information displays, safety tips, child restraint inspections, bouncy house, military working dog demonstrations, emergency vehicle displays and free food.
This is the second time the Woodland Park Police Department will host a get-together and the first time for the Teller County Sheriff's Office to combine its celebration with the city's.
The observation runs 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Memorial Park in Woodland Park and will feature a DUI and impaired-driver simulator, a bounce house for kids, free face painting and free food.
The Colorado State Patrol, Emergency 911, Ute Pass Regional Ambulance, DARE officers, NETCO Fire Department, the Explorers, Victim's Advocates, Build a Generation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be on hand.
A special ceremony honoring police and the community will be held at 6 p.m.
The Cañon City Police Department will host a community picnic, 5-7 p.m. at Rudd Park.
This is the fourth year for this citywide event, which will include participation in Project 365. Police target an area that has received complaints about criminal and disorderly conduct and for the next year will work with the community to turn it around. Rudd Park is this year's focus, with the goal of increasing neighborhood pride and reducing complaints and activities that negatively affect safety of the area.