Police officers targeted four Sequim communities on Aug. 4 - for a good cause.
National Night Out is an annual event that encourages neighborhoods to stand up to crime by leaving their porch lights on for the evening and reporting any suspicious activities.
Sequim Police Officer Maris Turner led a small team to four participating neighborhood parties in Sequim.
"This was the second year and hopefully it continues to grow," she said.
Turner; two police volunteers, Lynn Skilling and Dick Larson; Bob Mills, a Community Emergency Response Team trainer; and a corrections officer, Michael Rosendahl, answered questions and provided information on each of their programs.
More than 100 people participated in the four neighborhoods.
Sequim has 14 block watcher neighborhoods within the city limits, with the 14th established just a few weeks ago.
Communities at Oxford Way, Eunice Street, Willow Street and Eagle Mountain Estates held potlucks and get-togethers before and after the night out.
Neighbors at Oxford Way made National Night Out their annual neighborhood picnic.
"It's given a chance for the neighborhood to come together and learn about safety as well," said Tatiana Trailov, a community member.
"We have a very nice neighborhood and I want it to stay that way."
All four communities asked similar questions about their neighborhood's safety, identity theft and more.
"Some of us feel awkward helping our neighbors, like it's an invasion of space," Turner said.
"It's not that we have to sit at our windows peeking through the blinds."
The officers and staff handed out pamphlets on emergency preparedness, how to report crimes and more.
Mills encouraged residents to "map their neighborhood" with an emergency preparedness plan for communities to work together during disasters.
He and other trainers will train people for emergency preparedness. Mills can be reached at 681-2247. The Clallam County Emergency Management Division also offers training. Call 417-2483 or 417-2525.
Turner also encouraged community members to sign up for home safety tests, where she inspects a home's doors, locks, windows and more to see if it is safe from intruders.
Skilling told residents that volunteers perform drive-by inspections for people on vacation or living in another town during the winter. Those wishing that service can call Sequim Police at 683-7227.
Josslyn Streett, block captain for Eunice Street, said she was happy with the turnout.
"It was a good opportunity to get to know one another and look out for one another," she said.
"People had a lot of questions and they were answered."
Three residents on her block plan to take Community Emergency Response Team 20-hour training for emergency preparedness.
Ginny Toguchi at Eagle Mountain Estates said she and others plan to keep the block watch updated at all times.
Residents there also will take part in a nine-step county program emergency preparedness plan.
Toguchi welcomes all in her community to participate.
"Things we can all do are to keep the porch lights on, get together like this, and watch out for one another," Turner said.
Last year's 26th Annual National Night Out campaign involved more than 37 million people worldwide.
Reach Matthew Nash at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sequim Block Watch
_ Two block watch meetings a year
_ Must report suspicious activities
Participating neighborhoods will receive
free signs and packets.
For more information, contact Sequim
Police Officer Maris Turner, 683-7227
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