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Neighborhood socials, local parade planned for National Night Out

A National Night Out parade through the Greenback Wood neighborhood was led by Citrus Heights Police Department officers, Tuesday night.
File photo, a Citrus Heights police lead a parade through the Greenback Wood neighborhood in celebration of National Night Out last year. // CH Sentinel

Updated Aug. 2, 9:40 a.m.–
Police and neighborhood groups across Citrus Heights are once again preparing for “National Night Out,” an annual crime-fighting effort held around the country on the first Tuesday in August.

Billed as “America’s night out against crime,” national organizers say more than 16,000 communities will be involved this year, with a total of 16 different neighborhood events on schedule in Citrus Heights, according to police.

The effort seeks to prevent crime by connecting neighbors and building local partnerships between communities and police. In a news release issued last week, the Citrus Heights Police Department said building strong neighborhoods is the “first defense against crime” and encouraged residents to participate in a local block party or other outdoor event.

Larissa Wasilevsky, CHPD’s neighborhood watch coordinator, said the various events in Citrus Heights are all hosted by local neighborhood watch groups and will feature BBQ’s, potlucks, ice cream socials, and a neighborhood parade. Members of the Citrus Heights city council, police staff, and the police chief also typically make an effort to show up in person to support the local events each year.

Resident Susan Jenkins, who serves as the community coordinator for the Greenback Wood Neighborhood Watch, said her group will celebrate National Night Out with a parade this year. The event will kick off at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, at the intersection of Indian River Drive and Clay Basket Drive and will continue on a three-quarter mile loop through nearby neighborhood streets.

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In prior years the parade has featured various police vehicles, balloons, dogs, kids in wagons and free ice cream. Jenkins said the parade would be a little different this year, but will still feature police vehicles and free ice cream.

The Greenback Wood watch group formed about eight years ago after Jenkins said a drive-by shooting occurred in her neighborhood. After the incident, she started passing out fliers door-to-door in order to put together an “email tree” for regular communication among her neighbors.

[Last year’s coverage: Parade, parties highlight National Night Out in Citrus Heights]

Jenkins now sends out emails to over 200 residents in her neighborhood, updating them on crime trends, police alerts, local events, and prevention tips. She said she feels more safe now, and residents are more aware of how to respond to suspicious activity and help look out for one another.

Those interested in forming a neighborhood watch group can find several brochures on the police department’s web page and can also contact CHPD’s neighborhood watch coordinator at 916-727-5879, or

Wasilevsky said police could not release a full list of this year’s neighborhood events “due to safety concerns and unsolicited vendors showing up to the events,” but she said individual residents can contact her to find a local event in their neighborhood..

National Night Out began in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch, and now involves over 38 million people across the United States and Canada, according to organizers.



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