City and county officials and employees who helped put on Madera’s first National Night Out on Monday and Tuesday deserve a tip of the hat for involving the entire city in a program to help fight crime. The idea was to get law-abiding citizens on the street in the evening to meet one another in their neighborhoods, learn about law enforcement and the Neighborhood Watch program and become a visible reminder to would-be lawbreakers that good neighborhoods usually translate into safe neighborhoods.
Public safety is the first job of local government, but that task can’t be handled by law enforcement alone. Safety requires an aware citizenry, where people look out not only for themselves, but for their neighbors, too.
Madera has shown a good ability to do that. In the city’s war against graffiti, citizen efforts are paramount. Many hundreds of volunteers seek out graffiti, report it, and where possible irradicate it themselves, using kits available free from the city. If you want to join that effort, call 661-5110, and you’ll be put in touch with someone who can sign you up.
Neighborhood block parties — sort of small-scale versions of National Night Out — are being held regularly, to make people aware of services available and to establish Neighborhood Watch programs.
Sometimes, crime prevention can be simple — as simple as leaving a porch light or two on at night. The cost of doing so is minimal, but the effect can be to deter burglars and others who might be attracted to a dark neighborhood. Also, when porch lights are on, along with street lights, it’s easier for neighbors to walk at night in safety.
Know who your neighbors are, and where they live. Keep an eye out in your neighborhood for people you don’t know. Strangers aren’t necessarily bad, but being able to spot them hanging around your neighborhood could save a lot of trouble by helping your neighbors.
That doesn’t mean we should be paranoid about people we don’t know, but it does mean we should be aware of what goes on around us.
Thanks, city and county, for reminding us of those valuable lessons.