In an effort to strengthen community relationships and prevent crime, the National Association of Town Watch along with the U.S. Park Police recently held the 33rd annual National Night Out for Prince George’s County residents.

A crowd of Prince George’s County Residents gather at National Night Out on Aug. 2. (Photos by Linda Poulson)

Hundreds of county residents gathered at the Hillcrest Heights Civic Association in Oxon Hill, Md. on Aug. 2 to celebrate the annual National Night Out event. According to the county police Facebook page, the event is designed to promote police and community partnerships by engaging in fun activities and great food. The need for stronger partnerships and relationships between the community and the police has been a national topic with several publicized officer-involved shootings of unarmed Black men in the last couple of years. The event was created in 1983 and occurs in thousands of communities throughout the United States on the first Tuesday in August.

“It is because of you that we care,” a park policeman told attendees at the event.

Food, refreshments, music, demonstrations, and safety information were available at the events. National Night Out events were also held in other Prince George’s County communities, including Hyattsville, Bowie, Landover, Clinton, Beltsville, and Ft. Washington.

The community-police awareness event identifies programs that relate to drug prevention, neighborhood watches, and other anti-crime efforts. “This is really nice to have for the community,” Gross said.