Mingling to cut crime in the Crescenta Valley

Armed with free ice cream and other giveaways, local public safety officials mingled with La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Montrose residents on Tuesday during a National Night Out celebration hosted by the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station.

Sheriff's deputies joined Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters, California Highway Patrol officers, Montrose Search and Rescue and Sheriff's station volunteers for the event at Ralphs Fresh Fare Market in La Crescenta.

An occasion marked in thousands of communities around United States, National Night Out is intended to strengthen community bonds and raise residents' awareness of what they can do to prevent crime.

Near the top of the list is forming active Neighborhood Watch groups, which are seeing a renaissance in La Cañada Flintridge.

As many as seven Neighborhood Watch groups, including several that had gone dormant, have been activated in the city over the past two years, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Jorge Valdivia said.

Even without an active watch program, officials say residents can do their part to prevent crime by securing their valuables and remaining aware of their surroundings.

"If you see something suspicious, it's OK to call us, no matter how small it is. We want that phone call," Valdivia said.

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Follow Joe Piasecki on Twitter: @JoePiasecki.

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