The families of 5th Avenue NW celebrated their first National Night Out at Steve and Christine Boyken's house. All the families helped organize the event, explaining that their kids draw them together all the time.
By Alex Long
The goals were simple: to lower crime and strengthen neighborhood spirit.
Six Byron neighborhoods joined more than 15,000 communities from all 50 states last Tuesday, as part of the country-wide National Night Out.
The city of Rochester and the Olmsted County sheriff's office work each year to promote the National Night Out by sending police officers and community leaders to different neighborhoods. DARE officers Bornhorst and Nelson drove around Byron, handing out pencils, stickers, and toys and getting to know town residents.
It's pretty simple, said Officer Brandon Bornhorst, "If you see people outside, crime is less likely to happen."
He also mentioned that gatherings like this can help reinforce communities and spin off into neighborhood watch programs.
"People have to step up," in order to start and maintain a neighborhood watch program, said Officer Bornhorst. To be official, a neighborhood watch should meet at least once a year with a uniformed deputy present. The National Night Out can serve as that yearly meeting.
The campaign that became National Night Out started almost 30 years ago, in 1984. The program is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, and held on the first Tuesday night in August.
Parties range in shape and size, from small cookouts to parades with live music. Some hold safety demonstrations and some gather food to donate to food banks such as Channel One. In 2012, more than 37 million people participated.
And if you drove around Byron last Tuesday, you probably saw a few of those people back again for another year.