Hundreds of residents gathered at various locations throughout Union City to take a stand against crime — and to enjoy good food, meet neighbors, play games and get to know local law enforcement — Tuesday night.
From 5 to 9 p.m., community members convened at several venues in observance of the 28th annual , an annual event to strengthen communities and help reduce crime.
The event aims to help raise crime and drug prevention awareness, build support for local crime-stopping efforts, strengthen relationships between residents and local police, and let criminals know that the community is fighting back.
“It’s important for all of us to come together once a year to meet each other,” said Tricia Pulido, who heads a neighborhood watch group on Feldspar Court. Pulido, a public safety advocate, launched the group after a home invasion next door to her home three years ago.
Pulido and her family were among the approximately 200 gathered at . The event featured a number of games for children, a balloon twister, a face painting station, a CERT booth and BBQ. It was one of four “official” National Night Out locations.
Official celebrations were also held at , and .
City officials and police officers made rounds at each location, which featured SWAT and K-9 demonstrations and stations for parents to receive emergency child identifications packets.
At Accinelli Park, attendees were treated to Indian food, catered by . As children crawled through an armored SWAT van, police volunteer Reiner Glausch pulled up in his 1967 Dodge, which he personally restored to resemble a vintage cop car. He escorted Police Chief Greg Stewart to each venue.
Elizabeth Silva, organizer of the Accinelli Park event, said it’s “wonderful when neighbors get together.” She said it was “the first big step” to building a true community.
Over at the , Youth and Family Services gave its attendees a taste of Decoto’s Latin flare with a performance by the Balet Folklorico dance group and Mexican food hot off the grill. Students in the Brickhouse Boxing program’s advance class also held their first public exhibition with three matches.
Though it wasn't an official event, staff reported more than 300 residents making their way to the center. Lt. Mark Quindoy of the UCPD, Deputy City Manager Tony Acosta, Councilwoman Emily Duncan and other local leaders also dropped by for a visit.
Kathy Miedema of the Tamarack Knolls Neighborhood Watch also reported (via our Facebook page) a great turnout for their party on Basswood Court, along with a visit from Council member Lorrin Ellis.
Tuesday’s turnout exceeded the expectations of Officer Ryan Seto, the lead organizer of Union City’s National Night Out. He estimated more than 600 people at just the two locations he personally visited.
“I’m glad that so many people got the word and we got a good showing,” he said.
Check out highlights from National Night Out in the gallery above.
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