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Our view: A night out against crime, for neighbors

Today is National Night Out, the one day a year set aside to turn on porch lights, wander out to spend time with neighbors, build community, and draw a line in the sand on crime.

At least 60 grass-roots gatherings are planned in and around the Twin Ports, about 10 more than last year, including a bounce house at Bartley Manor and Woodland Way on Tower Avenue in Superior, a bounce castle and the “zoomobile” at Merritt Park in West Duluth, and music and maypole dancing at Grant Community Recreation Center in East Hillside.

See a full list of planned happenings at and make plans to go.

But don’t just go for a few laughs to your neighborhood’s picnic, block party or ice-cream social. After sharing conversation, hot dogs and whatever else is planned, go a step further by really talking. What’s great about where you live? How could you and your neighbors work together to make it even better? Whether the issue is repairing playground equipment, taking back a park overrun by weeds or troublemaking teens, getting the city to tear down a dilapidated and abandoned house, or addressing the negative effects of heroin or other drug use in our community, brainstorm a goal, set a deadline and then commit to getting it done. Tonight. Do it tonight.

Or maybe discuss the candidates running for County Board, governor and other state offices in this fall’s election. The primary is one week from today. Take a vow with your neighbors to vote.

About 400 communities in 23 states participated in the first National Night Out in 1984, according to the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch ( That has swelled to more than 15,000 communities and

37 million people in all 50 states and in every U.S. territory and Canada. Even more participants are expected this year.

Imagine if everyone participating identified and tackled a problem. Just one problem. Imagine all the good that could result and how much stronger our neighborhoods and communities could be.