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Residents party against crime

Jackson Bell

Greg Palmer believes one of the best aspects of the Burbank Police

Department is its public image.

“They have a reputation of ‘Don’t mess around here,’ ” he said.

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“But unlike L.A., there are a lot of police officers who live in the

city and have a vested interest in the quality of life. And that is

what keeps it high.”

The Burbank resident spent Tuesday evening mingling with local

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police officers, firefighters, community members and other residents

at Councilwoman Marsha Ramos’ home on the 400 block of North Cordova

Street during the 20th Annual National Night Out Against Crime.

It was the first time the city participated in the

neighborhood-oriented social event, which included barbecues, youth

activities and candlelight vigils throughout the city.

Burbank Police Chief Thomas Hoefel said the purpose was to promote

crime awareness and prevention, neighborhood safety and to let

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criminals know citizens are united against crime.

“Events like this are a symbol of the difference in law

enforcement now compared to how it was 20 or 30 years ago,” he said.

“Back then, the police seemed to know everything. Now, it is a team

effort.”

Ramos, who volunteered to host a barbecue as soon as she heard

about the event, said she believes a safe environment is founded upon

strong neighborly relations.

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“My family and I take pride in our neighborhood, and we think that

it is vital to gather together and talk [about crime and safety

issues] in order to build a stable environment,” she said.

Almost 10,000 communities throughout North America, including

Glendale, participated in last year’s National Night Out, and more

are expected this year, according to the event’s Web site. The

National Assn. of Town Watch and the Burbank Police Department are

the local co-sponsors.

Community Resource Officer Vee Jones, who helped coordinate the

event, said the police need residents as much as the residents need

them to effectively stop crime.

“Because the community is the eyes and ears of the police

department, they see and know more [than the police do],” she said.

“That is why we need to foster lines of communication.”

About 12 Burbank firefighters also visited the parties to help put

a friendlier face on public-safety officials.

“We don’t want people to ever shy away from the badge because it

should also represent a shield to them,” Burbank Fire Capt. Rob Bell

said.


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