STOCKTON, CA- Stockton communities joined the 29th Annual National Night Out against crime on Tuesday August, 7th.
Each year National Night Out, a nationwide event promotes neighborhood spirit and safety by strengthing the bond between the community, neighbors and local police departments.
For Stockton this year’s event comes on the heels of several high-profile crimes, including a record of 58 homicides in 2011 and severe cuts to the Stockton Police Department.
“This is not a place where you usually see a typical peaceful event,” said community resident, Julie Whittock, “this is a forgotten place after 5pm.”
Whittock along with her community night watch team organized the first National Night Out event in her community; sending a message to criminals that her neighborhood is fighting back.
“There is still hope despite all the crime. You guys represent that hope,” said Michael Tubbs, candidate for Stockton City Council.
“We cannot act independent from each other and be successful,” said Whittock, “we partnered up with business on Weber and Miner Street and with the ACE train station…this is a community effort.”
“We are trying to reconnect,” added Whittock.
Tubbs continue his speech remembering the words of the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, “he [MLK] said, ‘where do we from now, chaos or community? I ask the same question, where do we go from now Stockton, chaos or community? chaos has a whole generation of young people without hope…. it’s going to take all of us to turn this city around.”
Both Tubbs and Whittock agree that National Night Out cannot be only one day of the year. Whittock hopes to continue with similar events in her community throughout the year.