SEABROOK – Prince George’s County residents joined with county police Tuesday evening during 31st Annual National Night Out promoting public safety awareness and community solidarity.
The event took place at locations throughout the county, including the parking lot of the Seabrook Station Shopping Center. According to county notices about the event, National Night Out gives residents an opportunity to spend time together and also meet their district police officers.
Local businesses, such as Kim’s Karate in the Seabrook Station Shopping Center, also took advantage of the evening to meet members of the community. Bharti Sharma, general manager for Kim’s Karate, said the business wanted to raise awareness for its after-school program, as well as its taekwondo program and traveling tournament team.
Laila Shahraki, a 10-year-old black belt and national champion, showed off her enthusiasm as she talked to people passing by the table Kim’s Karate set up in the parking lot.
“I’m going to tell them about the programs and when I grow up, I’m going to have my own school,” she said.
Food, prizes and information about public safety and government resources were made available for event attendees.
Susan Black, a Seabrook resident since 1986, said she looked forward to meeting other members of her community. Events like National Night Out, Black said, help strengthen community bonds.
“I hope that National Night Out will cause people to come out of their houses instead of staying behind closed doors and closed windows just peeking out and wondering what’s going on,” Black said. “When you know your neighbor, you’re more likely to care about them and a lot of crime is about not knowing or not caring about who’s getting hurt or what’s happening.”
According to County Executive Rushern Baker III, residents had much to celebrate on National Night Out. According to county statistics, the overall crime rate is down 5.7 percent. Homicides are down 32.5 percent and property crimes are down 6.5 percent.
“This progress is a due in large part to improved partnerships and cooperation between public safety agencies and our communities,” Baker said. “National Night Out exemplifies this collaboration where neighbors can spend time with people in their towns and communities to promote crime prevention and build partnerships with public safety departments.”
Back at the Seabrook Station, Jimmy Munoz, pastor of Seabrook Seventh-day Adventist Church, passed out magazines, church sermon discs and books.
“Our purpose for being here is to let the community know that as a church, we have something to contribute to the community to make it safer,” Munoz said.
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