Hundreds of residents partied in Coon Rapids to prevent crime.
Close to 100 events registered with the Coon Rapids Police Department for the city’s annual Night to Unite celebration Tuesday evening.
By registering, the parties received visits from members of the Coon Rapids police and fire departments.
The events included not only single-family residential gatherings, but also residents from multi-family developments, including apartment complexes, one church – Presbyterian Church of the Master – and the Coon Rapids Element Teen Center.
Events included block parties in which streets were barricaded via a city permit, cookouts, contests and youth activities.
Those registering for the parties received a goodie bag that contained crime prevention tips and party items, such a T-shirts and Frisbees, as well as information from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office about community emergency preparedness.
Night to Unite is designed to:
• Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness.
• Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs.
• Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
• Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
This was the fourth year the program has been known as Night to Unite in Coon Rapids, but the police department has coordinated the event the first Tuesday evening in August for decades under its previous incarnation of National Night Out.
The name of the program was changed, but not its purpose, because the police department decided to no longer be involved in the National Night Out event, which was under the auspices of the National Association of Town Watch, a nonprofit organization which came under scrutiny for the compensation earned by its executive director.
Night to Unite is sponsored by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association (MPCA) and AAA of Minnesota/Iowa.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]