Montrose Holds National Night Out Against Crime Block Party
By Sandra Raub
Representatives from the Montrose borough police, county sheriff’s office, Montrose Minutemen EMS and ambulance services, among others, were on hand to spread information at the annual National Night Out Against Crime Block Party in Montrose on Aug. 2, the second such event to be held in this small community.
The event is part of a movement by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a nonprofit, crime prevention organization that works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
Since 1981, NATW has been dedicated to the development, growth and maintenance of organized crime and drug prevention programs nationwide. National Night Out block parties have been held across the country for 28 years, with the purpose of neighbors getting to know each other, thereby strengthening neighborhood spirit and fostering community-police relationships, as well as to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and encourage support for and participation in local anti-crime programs. The hope is to also familiarize families, especially children, with the emergency services in their communities, according to Father Randy Webster, one of the organizers.
The local event was hosted by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Montrose, and made possible by a host of other contributors of both food and activities. According to Father Webster, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, New Milford, and Christ Church, Susquehanna, the event is something he and Father Paul Walker of St. Paul’s say had enjoyed enthusiastic response where they used to live, so they were eager to present it to the Montrose community after relocating here one and a half years ago.
Last year, the party was held in the borough park, but this year it moved to the corner of Church and Chestnut Streets, just outside St. Paul’s, to be closer to the foot traffic of the downtown area, a decision Father Webster deemed hugely successful.
Emergency agencies were on hand to showcase their equipment, give safety information and answer questions from attendees. Other activities included a bounce house, bike safety inspection, internet safety information for children and adults, and the opportunity to explore fire trucks, ambulances and police cruisers. Some local police officers took their turn in the “hot” or “wet” seat, offering kids of all sizes the chance to drop them into the water of the dunk tank, as well as being on hand to offer drug awareness and anti-crime information. Children’s face painting was provided as part of the fun by Ilona Scroggins of Candy Faces.