On Tuesday, August 2nd from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., officers from the Los Angeles Police Department will attend the annual National Night Out event at Little Landers Park, 10110 Commerce Ave. in Tujunga. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Neighbors participate across thousands of communities from all 50 states, United States territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.
“The purpose of National Night Out,” says Nina Royal, Safety Chair of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, “is to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to bring police and neighbors together.”
The event will include a variety of activities including face painting, an art contest in the street with chalk, and a contest with prizes for the kids regarding public safety. As always, there will be live music and police cadets will be grilling hot dogs. This year, there will also be food donated from various restaurant in town.
(left) Nina Royal poses with LAPD officers at the 2011 National Night Out.
(below) Former STNC President Mark Seigel & the late Michael Jones host a Ham Radio table.
In celebration of NNO, Royal recommends that residents install blue lightbulbs in their home lights to honor the police and to create awareness of this event. LAFD will also be taking part in this event as they play a major role in public safety, especially now with the fires.
“We usually bring out 300+ people to National Night Out and that’s not counting the different nonprofits involved in public safety that hand out information,” says Royal. “From 1989 – 1994, Sunland-Tujunga had the highest crime rate in the Foothill Division with crime-ridden neighborhoods, vacant and boarded up homes and businesses that drug dealers and transients had moved into. My husband, Bob, and I started a group called Sunland – Tujunga Involved Residents because we wanted to bring safety and public service to the community.
“By taking back Little Landers Park, which was then known as ‘Connection Park,’ and picketing City Hall downtown, we started getting traction,” she adds. “We also held a “Take Back Our Community” parade down Foothill Boulevard. In 1989, we held the first Town Hall meeting that I think this community ever had; North Valley City Hall was packed. After that, the LAPD started a program called PACE which had to do with cleaning up boarded up buildings and vacant houses followed by the street cleaning.
“We organized about 50 neighborhood watch meetings monthly throughout Sunland – Tujunga,” she says, noting that they decreased during the reign of former LAPD Chief Parks who disbanded the senior lead officers so neighborhood watches had nobody to report to. Since the senior leads were brought back, neighborhood watches have started up again and people have started taking a stake in their community. With local businesses pitching in and cleaning up the areas around their property, others have taken charge too. The result is that the S-T community now has one of the lowest crime rates in the Foothill Division.
As more people get involved and through educational efforts, community emergency response events and neighborhood watches, there is now a sense of pride, once lacking, in the Sunland –Tujunga community because people know they can and do make a difference in their own quality of life through their involvement.