Two rallies are scheduled in south county - one in Shady Side and another on the Annapolis City Dock - for "National Night Out," tomorrow's crime prevention event in which neighbors turn on porch lights as a show of solidarity against crime and drug abuse.
Anne Arundel County Police will be at the Lula Scott Community Center in Shady Side for an event from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. that is co-sponsored by the Churchton-Shady Side community group, Renno's market and local churches.
"It's a great opportunity for neighbors to get together and meet each other," said Deborah Mackell, the group's vice president.
Music, face-painting and an appearance by the county police helicopter will be featured, she said.
Annapolis City Police are holding their "Night Out" event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at City Dock, where the U.S. Navy Band of Washington, D.C., and the Interfaith Community Praise Choir will perform. The theme, "Bridging the Gap of Justice for the 21th Century," also will bridge some language barriers as the city's new Hispanic liaison, Robert Morales, has translated police information for the area's growing Spanish population.
Police also encourage people who do not attend any of the events to get together with neighbors.
"It's about taking ownership of your neighborhood," said Anne Arundel Police Officer Mark Shawkey."Have a block party. Go talk to your neighbors. Have a little porch gathering. Tight-knit communities are less likely to be victimized."
For information about neighborhood watch groups and free business and residential security surveys, residents may call the county police crime prevention unit at 410-222-8571.