When it comes to crime, cops can only do so much. Neighbors need to help neighbors. That's the idea behind National Night Out, held in cities and towns across our region Tuesday evening.
National Night Out block parties are designed to get neighbors out to meet each other, so they will look out for each other and prevent crime. One Allentown neighborhood may be the perfect example of that philosophy in action..
Today, Overlook Park is the picture of middle class tranquility.
"This is beautiful," said Gloria Munoz. "It's heaven now."
But it wasn't always that way. Less than ten years ago, it was called Hanover Acres, a haven for drugs and crime.
"Bad, bad," said Munoz. "They talk about Hanover Acres -- nobody want[ed] to come [to the] acres."
Since the city rebuilt the neighborhood using a $20 million grant, and added strict residency requirements, it has stayed remarkably safe.
"We are taking our neighborhood back," said Rosa Colon, who organized Tuesday's event there. "We are not accepting crime of any kind."
And that's where National Night Out comes in. Those who live here now say a big reason this place hasn't fallen into its old traps is that neighbors are taking a bite out of crime -- by knowing each other and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
"Stay out of crime," said resident Fernando Calder. "Watch each other in the place; that's what I do here."
Colon added: "So that criminals know that they're not welcome, that we're not going to just lay back and say ok to crime."
The Overlook Park event featured music, police K-9 dog demonstrations, and fire truck tours. Mayor Ed Pawlowski also stopped by. Other events were held throughout the region.