WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - White Plains' second year hosting a National Night Out gathering drew hundreds from all over Westchester, including Luz Rosario, who would like to see Port Chester participate in the Aug. 2 tradition where police and neighborhood all across the U.S. gather to raise awareness about local crime and drug prevention efforts.
"They should definitely do it," Rosario, 23, said of her Port Chester home. "It's good for police to get involved in the neighborhood. And I like the music."
Educating kids about the importance of resisting drugs was particularly important to Felicia Banks, 38, who brought her daughter Alisha Mccree, 13, to the police headquarters on S. Lexington Avenue Tuesday evening.
"It's a good thing to help kids stay off the street," said Banks, a White Plains resident serving three years probation for using drugs. "I told [my daughter] probation is no joke."
Banks also came to support her son, a snare drummer, in the Jerome "Bump" Robinson Drum Core of the Thomas H. Slater Center. Other entertainment included a performance by the high school's song writers club, music by the Jig Saw band, a routine from library staff, and several tours of the 77 S. Lexington Ave. public safety building. Over 40 community organizations, religious groups, and local businesses promoted local events at tables, which executive director of the Slater Center Heather Miller said was a great way to advocate for community programs.
"It's a win-win because some people may have a have a negative view of the police and police might have a negative view of some people," said Miller, a Mount Vernon resident. "It's good because it helps build trust between everyone."
Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said he was pleased with the turnout.
"This is about getting the message out and continuing to get people to look out for each other, which help us because we couldn't do it alone," said Chong.
Mayor Thomas Roach also praised the more collaborative culture of White Plains for keeping crime rates down.
"In other communities it's more of a take back the streets approach, so it's nice to celebrate that we don't have to do that," said Roach.
Both Chong and Mayor Thomas Roach aim to make the National Night Out a staple of White Plains summers.
Did you go to National Night Out in White Plains? Have you ever gone to National Night Out in other communities? What do you think of the Aug. 2 tradition? Email thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include responses in future coverage.
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