Neighbors band together at National Night Out

After coloring a cutout paper police badge yellow, black and red at an annual crime-prevention event at Pacific Park, 11-year-old Steven Hernandez knew exactly where he planned to post his crayon artwork: on his bedroom wall.

“I thought it would be good to show how we have safety in our neighborhood and not to feel threatened in our neighborhood,” said the Glendale resident, whose favorite part of the Tuesday night event, known as National Night Out, was the climbing wall.

PHOTOS: Glendale celebrates National Night Out

About 40 community events sponsored by residents and homeowners associations were held throughout Glendale as part of a nationwide campaign to encourage neighbors to band together against crime.

The Pacific Park event was one of the largest, attracting more than 250 people, who enjoyed themselves dancing to a DJ, playing in a bounce house and participating in other activities. Attendees also ate 240 hot dogs and roughly 360 slices of Lucky 7 Pizza.

About 2,000 people were expected to attend the National Night Out events held throughout Glendale.

Selene Dominguez, who won a hula-hoop contest, is from Los Angeles, but she went to the Pacific Park event with her cousin, who is a Glendale resident. The 17-year-old said her neighborhood doesn’t celebrate National Night Out, but she wished it did.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said.

Glendale Police Chief Rob Castro reminded attendees about pedestrian safety and encouraged parents to ensure their kids walked within the crosswalk and didn’t walk alone. Traffic safety has been a top priority for the police department recently. There have been 22 traffic fatalities in Glendale since 2008.

“This is a night we celebrate what we have here in Glendale,” Castro said, referring to community involvement. He also commended the residents who volunteered to organize the National Night Out gatherings.

Lenore Solis, a Glendale resident who led the organization of the Pacific Park event, said there has been a National Night Out at the venue for six years. People come for the free food, she said, but while there, they can also connect with their neighbors and learn about community resources, such as the Windsor Club, which assists the Glendale groups of Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as free programs at Chevy Chase Baptist Church.

Ashley Sanders, who took free pens and informational pamphlets from the church booth, came to National Night Out with her 2-year-old son to get to know the park near her new home. She moved to Glendale a few months ago from a crime-ridden area in Memphis, Tenn., to be closer to family. She said she was happy to see public safety was a priority in her new city.

“I feel safe up here. I get a good feeling,” she said.

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