For more than a decade, Berlin has come together on the first Tuesday in August to celebrate the community and help prevent crime.
National Night Out returns to Dr. William Henry Park on Flower Street on Aug. 5 from 4-7 p.m.
“We’ll have crime-prevention activities, a lot of things for the kids to do – it’s just a whole host of things,” said organizer PFC Claude Holland of the Berlin Police Department.
“Nationally it’s an event to go out and have a community awareness of crime and to go ahead and make that statement that we’re coming together as a community to combat crime and the fear of crime,” said Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing. “It’s the fear of people scared to come out of their homes in different areas of their country – scared to communicate with their neighbors. Nationally it’s one of those statements: we can and will come together as a community to go ahead and promote safety and togetherness in the community.”
Ocean City, Princess Anne, Fruitland, Snow Hill and Pocomoke also hold annual Night Out events.
“Each year it changes up a little bit in Berlin,” Downing said. “We had some funding at the onset that we haven’t had in the last five years, so we tailor it around our partners. Berlin Area Ministries are a big part of coordinating the process. They take care of the food itself, and they bring the different churches and branches. Some will provide chips, some will provide snow cones, and some will bring other things food-wise.”
State Police hand out recruitment literature, as well as information about their agency. Local fire department and members of the business sector also take part. Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services and the Scales and Tales program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offer family friendly activities and information about their organizations.
“It’s a long list,” said Downing. “This year a new thing is going to be ‘Carriage Rides from Randy.’ He’s going to bring his horse down and give rides to the kids. It’s a litany of things. Honestly, we don’t even know what’s going to happen until we get there that day.”
Downing said the overall theme of Day Out is fostering togetherness in the community.
“We’re talking about governmental entities in partnership with nonprofits, different social services and agencies, and then we’ll see private entities and individuals be a part of it,” he said. “It’s all about how different parts of the community can come together to provide one great, fun time.”
“This event is meant to promote involvement in crime-prevention activities, strengthen police community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie,” Holland said. “We like to send a message to criminals letting them know the neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”