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Guilderland gathers for National Night Out

Guilderland police asked residents to lock their doors, turn on a porch light, and join them on Tuesday, Aug. 4, for National Night Out, an event to raise awareness of neighborhood crime.

Organizers said the annual event, which was held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Tawasentha Park, was also a way to strengthen local bonds between law enforcement and community members.

Guilderland Chief of Police Carol Lawlor said the night was about educating the town about crime prevention, but it was also about family fun.

We had a very successful night, Lawlor said. "We're very pleased."

The theme of this year's event was "Giving Crime and Drugs a Going Away Party," and it featured members from the crime prevention and personal wellness communities, child-safety programs, community organizations, and games, music and food.

Entertainment was provided by local band the Refrigerators.

National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and locally co-sponsored by the Guilderland Police Department. It involves more than "15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world," according to information provided by the town.

Children at the event participated in a number of games, including the dunk-tank, hula-hoop contests and ring-tosses.

Horseback rides were offered and younger kids were flying through the air in an inflatable bounce house.

Amid the fun and games, though, were displays dealing with crime issues that affect the lives of thousands of people every day.

Lawlor said the town is planning to participate in the event again next year, due to its large turnout. She said attractions like free popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream are great to get people to the event, but the information provided by the Guilderland Fire Department, EMS and office of Prevention of Domestic Violence was equally as important.

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