Residents make a night of it to fight crime

Clayton Stricker, 11, grinned as he slipped into a bullet-proof vest and helmet at Burbank's annual National Night Out Tuesday.

Burbank Police Officer Tim Murphy then let him hold a heavy ram, a Special Weapons and Tactics tool used to knock down doors.

“I'll be back in about two hours, you just hang on there,” Murphy joked.

The SWAT team was stationed at one of the dozen or so community booths set up at the city-sponsored event, where neighbors could get to know law enforcement officials and other community members.

Hundreds of neighbors gathered at the event, held on the Chandler Bikeway between Keystone and Brighton streets, and dozens of Neighborhood Watch groups hosted their own block parties throughout the city.

“It's a good family outing,” said Michael Concidine, who attended the city event with his wife and two kids. “It's fun to get in the community and see our neighbors.”

For newlyweds Mike and Tammy Williams, the event was an opportunity to share their neighborhood concerns with police.

“It's an awesome area, but sometimes you have fairly rude drivers,” Mike Williams said, adding that he hopes to bring up speeding motorists to police, especially since he has a 4-month-old daughter. “We like to walk through the neighborhood, but we're cautious because drivers seem like they don't care.”

Lilit Osikyan, who moved to Burbank three years ago, hoped to familiarize her 3-year-old son Dero with local police.

“He's kind of afraid of police cars,” she said, adding that police sirens startle him.

But on Tuesday, Dero had a chance to touch a patrol car and talk with police officers.

“They were very nice,” his mom said.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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