Follow us

RACINE — National Night Out (NNO) and local organization Racine Neighborhood Watch will mark 40-year milestones next Tuesday, Aug. 1.

NNO, an annual event that brings neighbors and neighborhoods together, kicks off in Racine with a 4 p.m. ceremony at Cesar Chavez Community Center, 2221 Douglas Ave., complete with a birthday cake and appearances by McGruff the Crime Dog and local dignitaries. The party there continues into the evening with free food, games, giveaways, face painting, bounce houses and an outdoor movie.

The event at Cesar Chavez is one of 36 NNO sites throughout the city coordinated by Racine Neighborhood Watch this year. Organizers are expecting as many as 4,500 participants, according to Susan Feehrer-Laack, Racine Neighborhood Watch’s interim executive director. In 2022, about 3,600 residents participated at 28 local NNO sites. NNO was sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and returned on a limited basis the following year.

“We’re not quite where we were prior to COVID but we’re very happy with the progress,” she said.

National Night Out
National Night Out (NNO) includes family-friendly games at many locations. – Credit: Paul Holley

In addition to the Cesar Chavez site, the Racine Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services is hosting NNO events from 5 to 7 p.m. next Tuesday at the following locations:

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center
    • 1134 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
  • Tyler-Domer Community Center
    • 2201 12th St.
  • Humble Park Community Center
    • 2220 Blaine Ave.
  • Dr. John Bryant Community Center
    • 601 Caron Butler Way.

Other National Night Out events – ranging from block party potlucks to neighborhood cookouts – are planned for Community Orienting Policing (COP) Houses, churches and private homes. Racine Police Department, Racine Fire Department, and Racine County Sheriff’s Office personnel, along with the McGruff mascot, drop by the NNO events.

Food, games, entertainment and prizes can be found at most NNO locations. Racine County Food Bank is providing food at several sites. S.C. Johnson – Family Company and Walmart have donated goodie bag items for giveaways this year.

“It’s such a great way for neighbors to get to know each other. People certainly look forward to it,” said Feehrer-Laack noting that Racine Neighborhood Watch is in its 32nd year of coordinating NNO in the community.

To find an NNO event in your neighborhood call 262-637-5711.

40 years for Racine Neighborhood Watch

Aug. 1 is also a celebration for Racine Neighborhood Watch, a nonprofit that marks 40 years of promoting community-center crime prevention. The organization was launched in 1983 to develop partnerships between the public and local law enforcement to build safe, friendly and attractive neighborhoods.

Racine Neighborhood Watch coordinates the Neighborhood Block Watch program and sister programs Apartment Watch and Business Watch. The programs are described as “the best crime-fighting tool ever created – a good neighbor.”

Neighborhood Block Watch provides ongoing support to neighborhood residents about personal and neighborhood safety and how and when to report suspicious activities to law enforcement.

National Night Out
Neighbors enjoyed a summertime picnic buffet at the 2022 National Night Out (NNO) site in West Racine. This year, NNO will be celebrated at 36 sites throughout the city on Tuesday, Aug. 1, according organizers at Racine Neighborhood Watch. – Credit: Paul Holley

40 years for National Night Out

Although National Night Out has been a formal event in the Racine area for 32 years, its roots extend back four decades this year. NNO got its start as a project of the National Association of Town Watch, a neighborhood public safety initiative.

The first NNO, held in August 1984, involved 2.5 million people in 23 states. It’s grown substantially since then to become an annual event held on the first Tuesday of August in most of the United States.

NNO events involved 38 million people in 17,000 communities throughout the country in 2021. In Wisconsin, 160 communities – including Racine and Kenosha – held NNO events last year.

Racine Police & Fire

Stay up to date with emergency, crime, police and fire encounters. The Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. Subscribe today and never miss a beat. Visit our Police & Fire section to read more.

Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.

Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens – Journalism that serves.

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...