For the past three years the neighbors of West Mays Street have gathered in the spirit of community and have held block parties as part of National Night Out.
This year, the West Mays neighbors and others throughout Dixon will join in and host block parties to strengthen community ties and those between the police and fire departments.
“We do the National Night Out block party to get our whole neighborhood together and we have roughly 20 kids just on our street here,” said Dawn Gorley, the block captain who helps organize the block party on West Mays. “So it gets all the kids together so they can play and the parents can all talk. We do a barbecue with a potluck and we usually barbecue hamburgers and hotdogs.”
Gorley said the block parties serve to catch up on all of the neighborhood news and to meet new residents who have moved in. The block party also serves for neighbors to meet the police officers and firefighters who are assigned to the neighborhood.
“It’s kind of getting the police department and the community back in touch with each other,” said Dixon Police Sgt. Elaine Perry, who helps coordinate National Night Out for the department. “It’s essential.”
Police officers, firefighters and city officials visit the block parties and hand out goodies to the residents, Perry said. They talk with them and answer any questions that they may have. It’s a form of community-based policing that Dixon Police Chief Jon Cox credits as one of the factors for keeping the crime rate low in Dixon.
Over the past few years, Dixon has seen a , in part, because Dixon is a community that watches out for each other. But the chief recognizes that at any time, the crime rate can creep up in Dixon, and that’s why events such as National Night Out are important for the city, Perry said.
“It’s just the opportunity to get out and, see these people,” Perry said. “ To know who they are. I think it gives them a sense of comfort that they have a contact.”
As for the neighbors of West Mays Streets, Gorley said: “The biggest advantage would be that we can talk to each other about anything. It helps us know who belongs in our neighborhoods.”
The 29th Annual National Night Out in Dixon will take place on Tuesday, 7-10 p.m. Anyone who is interested in hosting a block party can contact Perry at the Dixon Police Department (707) 678 7070.