Bounce houses are part of the evening’s activities, as police departments in three local boroughs (Red Bank, Fair Haven, Little Silver) invite families to take part in the National Night Out initiative on Tuesday.
It began 32 years ago as a simple promotion in which police departments across the nation encouraged residents to keep their porch lights burning as a show of solidarity against crime. It evolved in many communities into a public-welcome event that mixed family-fun activities with a serious message of safe streets (and made a celebrity out of a trenchcoat-wearing dog named McGruff).
Here in the charged election-year atmosphere of 2016 — where statistical declines in violent crime are countered by news stories involving the horrifically high-profile deaths of police officers and civilians — the annual occurrence known as National Night Out takes on a newfound significance, as an opportunity for police departments, public officials and community members to meet and maintain the dialogue.
On the evening of Tuesday, August 2, both Red Bank and Fair Haven continue their now-traditional participation in the nationwide initiative — and this year, they’ll be joined by a third municipality on the greater Red Bank green: the bordering borough of Little Silver.