THOUSAND OAKS : 'Night Out' Program Aims to Fight Crime

Thousand Oaks residents will be encouraged to turn on the lights of their homes, lock their doors and spend the evening outside visiting with neighbors Tuesday as part of the "National Night Out" anti-crime campaign.

The national event is held annually to encourage residents to become better acquainted and watch for crime in their neighborhoods.

More than 2,000 Thousand Oaks residents are expected to participate in the event, which is sponsored by the east county bureau of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

Residents will be asked to display an American flag to show that they are participating in the campaign.

"It's something that doesn't take a lot of work," said Senior Deputy Chris Lathrop, the organizer of the Thousand Oaks event. "But it makes the statement that has to be made . . . take a bite out of crime."

For the past seven years, communities nationwide have participated in the annual event. Last year, about 21 million people took part in the campaign.

Lathrop said any community can participate in the event by contacting local crime prevention officers, but until now Thousand Oaks is the only city in the county that has expressed an interest.

Lathrop said he hopes to get more Ventura County communities involved next year.

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