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Oklahoma City neighborhoods celebrate Neighbors Night Out

Residents and first responders celebrate Neighbors Night out in northeast Oklahoma City. (KOKH/Caroline Vandergriff)

More than 100 neighborhoods across Oklahoma City hosted block parties Tuesday for Neighbors Night Out.

The goal was to not only have fun, but to prevent crime by giving neighbors an opportunity to get to know each other better.

"You know your neighbor's habits, you know who's supposed to be at that home and at what times, and that's why they're your best defense against crime because they can always spot suspicious activity," said Ashley Dickson Oso with the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma.

Active, social neighborhoods tend to have less crime, and the Park Estates North neighborhood has an association that keeps an eye on things.

"The crime is down in this area because they don't take no stuff from nobody," said neighbor Renee Mack.

"You look out for each other," said Bonita Edwards, vice-president of the Park Estates North Neighborhood Association. "We can look out for each other quicker than we can call the police."

They were able to celebrate that kind of community at the Neighbors Night Out party. The annual event recognizes how important it is to get to know your neighbors, and it gives people a chance to strengthen relationships with the police officers and firefighters who serve their communities.

"When we patrol a district, we patrol it and go home," said Deputy Chief Wade Gourley with the Oklahoma City Police Department. "They’re in that area. They know who belongs there and who doesn’t. So it’s very important we establish those relationships because they’ll be able to tell us really quickly if crime is beginning to occur."

Neighbors in Park Estates North hope their involvement inspires others to start neighborhood associations.

"I would say that's the best thing because the neighbors are going to watch out for you," Edwards said.

Oklahoma City police say they would love to help other neighborhoods start a successful watch program like the one in Park Estates North. You can reach out to the department, and they'll put you in touch with the community relations officer in your division.

The Neighborhood Alliance also has more resources here.




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