WAXAHACHIE — Since its inception, friendship and fellowship have remained the key ingredients to the success of National Night Out. That sentiment remains the same as the goal of the event on Tuesday, Oct. 4 is to bring neighbors together and to form relationships.

According to the National Night Out website, there are more than 38 million people spread across more than 16,000 communities that take part in this event annually. People participate across thousands of communities from all 50 states, United States territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. The U.S Department of Justice website stated when National Night Out began in 1984 there 2.5 million people in only 400 communities that participated.

Waxahachie Police Department Community Service Officer Dustin Jordan shared Brown’s thoughts about why it is important to get to know your neighbor.

“This is really [centered] around neighborhood watch, which isn’t so much law enforcement related, it is more neighbor related. Getting to know who lives next-door. Really knowing the faces and the cars and getting to know who is around you,” Jordan said. “It is a time for neighbors to get together in the neighborhoods camp out, grill out, let the kids play and give them a chance to meet and greet each other especially in a time when social media is really driving our experience.”

Jordan said getting to know your neighbors helpful to spot suspicious activity early on. If something stands out, it will be noticed and reported to police quicker. Officers from the Waxahachie Police Department will be stopping by the national events in Waxahachie to visit with groups.

These relationships will allow for residents to become more aware of the activity taking place in their neighborhood and several communities across Ellis County are joining in on the evening.

Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown encourages residents to take part in this event because it helps to bring communities together.

"I encourage all of you to attend your local National Night Out event – and if your community isn’t having one, be part of a volunteer effort to put one on in 2017. My Deputies and I will be out that night visiting with as many people as we can and at as many of the events as we can make; you should stop by also, say ‘hi’ to your neighbors and make some new acquaintances,” Brown said in his Sunday column. “Why is National Night Out important? It provides an opportunity for law enforcement and other first responders to meet face-to-face with the communities they serve. We’ll all be on hand to answer your questions and share safety tips and crime prevention ideas with you. More importantly, it’s a chance to put faces with names while meeting people and learning more about the community where you live.”

Brown said it’s the community that serves as law enforcement’s extra eyes and ears in keeping everyone and their property safe. So it is important to get to know your neighbors, and this event provides that opportunity to do that.

There are several National Night Out events taking part in throughout the county. It is important to note that the events in neighborhoods are strictly for members of that neighborhood only.

Ginny Sills, who is the Chair of the West Main Street Neighborhood watch group, shared Jordan’s thoughts about the importance of the event.

“It is rallying the neighbors together. We are extending our street to our Jefferson and Hawkins neighbors. We are extending those boundaries to include the streets to the front and back of us as we have neighbors who wish to participate in [neighborhood watch],” Sills said. That makes our neighbor watch even stronger where we have neighbors watching front and back. We are gathering together in an effort to show that we have each other’s back so to speak.”

The West Main Street National Night will take place in the front yard of 707 W. Main St. Chick-fil-A will provide food for the gathering.

Residents who are interested in finding out how to start a neighborhood watch or National Night Out program can contact Jordan at the Waxahachie Police Department at (469) 309-4400. The Waxahachie Police Department is located at 216 N. College St. in downtown Waxahachie.

— Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at abranca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.