Hurricane Ike Prepares Neighborhoods for National Night Out

National Night Out marks a milestone in citizen crime prevention. The annual event gets a boost thanks to Hurricane Ike. Pat Hernandez tells us the storm brought neighborhoods closer.
Thousands of communities across the country observed National Night Out in August, but the hot weather allowed the event to be rescheduled in Texas for the first Tuesday in October. At a gathering at HPD headquarters, government officials and various law enforcement agencies encouraged citizens to participate in the pre-eminent community crime fighting tool. Houston City Councilmember Adrian Garcia says Hurricane IKE helped bring the event sooner.

image of Harris County Judge Ed Emmett speaking"As I drove the streets of Houston, I saw extension cords running over from one house to the other, across the street, saw neighbors sharing food, water, ice. That's the way National Night Out was intended to be done. So, I just want to tell the citizens of Houston, of Harris County that this is how we do it, and so, now we're just making it a little bit more formal."

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says this year's National Night Out takes on a special significance.

"Crime actually went down during Hurricane Ike, and I think that speaks volumes not only to the law enforcement personnel, but just to the nature of the people who live here. National Night Out reinforces that sense of responsibility that our community already has."

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt says community response to IKE makes the quarter century milestone even more significant.

image of Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt"And that was 25 years of people banning together with law enforcement, the business community, and of course, individuals that live in the neighborhoods, in the houses, in the blocks that we patrol each day, reinforcing our commitment to each other, that we'll work together, that we'll have a stronger partnership going forth, this next 25 years, and sending a message for the criminal element of our communities, that we're serious about the prevention and reduction of crime."

Officer Jesse Martinez heads community outreach and crime prevention for the Houston Police Department. He says he feels good about the annual event moving permanently from August to October.

"For the state of Texas I believe, that it will stay in force hopefully, if we show a good showing, also, whoever thought Hurricane Ike was going to come and strike us? It brought communities together to overcome this crisis."

National Night Out festivities take place from 6-9 pm in neighborhoods here and all over Texas.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.
Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...