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An evening out: National Night Out, Nite to Unite parties set for Aug. 1

Neighbors are busy planning block parties and cookouts for next week's National Night Out in Farmington and Nite to Unite in Rosemount.

The NNO will take place the evening of Tuesday, August 1. The annual event's aim is to foster enhanced relationships between neighbors and law enforcement while attempting to bring neighbors together to form closer knit neighborhoods and communities.

Farmington residents who want to register can go to nno@ci.farmington.mn.us soon to not miss out. The Farmington Police Department will accept NNO visit requests from a police officer, a firefighter or both. For questions in Farmington, contact the station at 651-280-6700. Hosts can visit the www.natw.org for a free organizational kit online and read about how to best organize an event.

In Rosemount, the neighborhood event is called Nite to Unite.

"Basically our goal is not only for community members to meet other community members and neighbors, but to strengthen our partnership with the community," said Danielle Waage, community resource officer with Rosemount Police Department. "Our goal is to strengthen the neighborhood and our relationship with the community members."

Sponsored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association, local law enforcement looks to build community partnerships through the event. Residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outdoors with neighbors.

Many neighborhoods will host special block parties, cookouts and look forward to visits from local police and fire, in addition to city officials who want connect and socialize with residents and hear concerns.

Last year, 70 Nite to Unite neighborhood parties were held in Rosemount.

In Rosemount, local fire, police and city representatives will collect hygiene and toiletry products to be given to Dakota County for families in need.

In Rosemount, call 651-322-3137 or email Waage at Danielle.waage@ci.rosemount.mn.us to participate in Nite to Unite. Rosemount residents can go online at the city website and sign up and fill out a sheet with block party times and numbers in attendance.

That way, Waage said, officers and local city officials can make the rounds. Rosemount residents can choose to have a police officer or firefighter visit the neighborhood party.

"The police or firefighters can come and hang out, and the goal is to meet the community and have them meet us, and my goal is for them to realize police officers are real people and they have their good, bad and great days," Waage said.

This night can lead to better communications and more open dialogue with neighbors and local law enforcement.

"This NNO can make our community better and build stronger relationships and we want to know our communities better," Waage said. "The NNO is so much fun for the kids because they love seeing the police cars and we like to see the kids smiling so they are not afraid of us."

Perhaps neighbors can generate their own neighborhood watch groups to keep an eye out for other neighbors' public safety and prevent crimes in neighborhoods.

"We want neighbors to look out for each other and let each other know, and let us know if there is something suspicious or when a neighbor is out of town — that helps out with crime prevention as well," Waage said.

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