Article19 DCs National Night Out Against Crime

Ward 8 residents take part in Washington D.C.’s National Night Out. (AFRO Photo/Linda Poulson)

At a time when violent crimes have spiked in Washington, D.C., synthetic drugs may be turning into an epidemic, and police shootings of Black individuals are occurring more frequently, National Night Out served as a welcomed relief to residents and police alike.

“America’s Night Out Against Crime” was the theme for the 32nd year of the event, held Aug. 4 in D.C. and sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. During the event the District’s Metropolitan Police Department and communities come together  to improve crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, generate support for local anti-crime programs, and let criminals know that the city’s neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

“There a lot of things going on, we’ve got the pamphlets, different organizations set up,” Lt. R.L. Powell told the AFRO at Ward 8’s gathering at St. Elizabeth’s Gateway Pavilion in Southeast D.C.  “From the police department, the military including the Coast Guard, we have businesses set up and representatives here. We have enjoyment games for the kids, so we have an overall event for department agencies to come all together as one.”

He said that more than 200 residents attended the event, which included conversations and pamphlets aimed at making the community better, as well as food, music and games.

“We’re talking about education, we’re talking about a community that has different issues and problems, and an opportunity to rejoice in a very different manner,” said Powell. “Issues—but a way of solving issues.”

Councilmember LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) attended the event, shaking hands, giving hugs and snapping selfies.

“I just left Fairlawn and I’m encouraging people to come out at night,” May said. “I’m trying to figure out how we can utilize our community so that we can come out at night. I want every resident in Ward 8 to be safe enough to come out and enjoy their neighborhoods. We are going to focus and address public safety issues in Ward 8.”