Today marks the 30th anniversary of the National Night Out program and Ocean City will join thousands of communities all over the United States and Canada to bring together local police and their neighborhoods to combat crime and support local law enforcement.
“National Night Out is a great way for us to continue to grow the department’s relationship with the community,” said Ross Buzzuro, Ocean City's new chief of police. “We believe that the number one crime prevention tool is having a great relationship with our community and this event really helps promote that.”
This year the Ocean City Police Department is working in conjunction with two neighborhood watches to highlight the program that began in 1984 to support police and community partnerships.
“The main focus is to bring the community and police together so that we can build relationships with all the citizens. Then they’re more apt to call us when they see suspicious activities and we can things from becoming a criminal activity,” said Lindsay O’Neal, public affairs specialist with the Ocean City Police Department.
Throughout the year, the National Night Out campaign has providing the Ocean City community with local anticrime programs such as Citizen Police Academy, a 10-week class citizens can sign up for. In these classes, locals can learn about criminal law, arrest procedures and firearms.
"I think it’s hard to nail down the specific of how well the National Night Out campaign works, but we get a lot statistics within the department of crime and one thing that is always on the top 10 calls is suspicious activity, we want citizens reporting on that so we can prevent crimes,” said O’Neal.
The Ocean City Police Department has also reached out to the community by creating a strong social media presence. The OCPD has an active Twitter, Facebook and Youtube account. They are even on Pinterest. The OCPD is also looking into creating an app for smart phones to make crime reporting easier, faster and safer.
The National Night Out event will be tonight, Aug. 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fiesta Park in Caine Woods and Gullway Villas on Lark Lane.