ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Police Department and Ithaca Housing Authority will host a block party in the Northside neighborhood as part of the 36th Annual National Night Out.
The block party will take place 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 in Conway Park, at the corner of Cascadilla and Fourth streets. The event will include a bike rodeo, face painting, free food and prize raffles, with music by DJ Double A.
National Night Out is a program designed to foster relationships between cops and neighbors. Its first iteration, in 1984, involved about 2.5 million people coming together for block parties and barbecues in about 400 communities, according to the organization’s website. An estimated 38 million people in 16,000 communities are expected to take part in the 2019 event.
In an event announcement, IHA and IPD say the local block party is meant to build community ties and deter crime.
“This is an opportunity for the community to meet and embrace each other and generate support for anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. And to send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back,” the flyer reads.
Crime in Ithaca has declined significantly over the past 30 years. In 2018, the index crime rate was less than half what it was in 1990, and the rate has fallen each year since 2013. The number of violent crimes reported by IPD increased slightly in 2018 compared to 2017, but has held largely steady since 1990.
The goal of National Night Out is to build positive relationships between neighbors and police officers so problems can be prevented. In keeping with community policing initiatives, the event is meant to increase trust in police, so community members will turn to officers for help and will be willing to share information when issues arise.
In addition to police and housing representatives, social service agencies will be on hand to share information about community programs and resources.
Featured image: Former Police Chief Pete Tyler grilled burgers at the second annual community police barbecue at the Southside Community Center in 2016. (Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice)