"The parties themselves range in size in accordance with their neighborhood watch group. Some groups have 10 homes, some groups have 50," said Pleasanton Community Service Officer Shannon Revel-Whitaker. "Some work with entire neighborhoods, so they're bigger."
Parties vary from potlucks and barbecues to ice cream socials and have included DJs and live bands, bounce houses, kids' activities and street parties. Those that register with the Police Department could be visited by officers, the mayor, City Council members, the city manager or department heads.
There's a bigger purpose than just parties. The National Association of Town Watch and police departments nationwide hold the events to raise awareness about crime and drugs, to generate support for anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and community-police partnerships, and to send criminals the message that neighborhoods are organized to fight crime.
Revel-Whitaker said it's been proven that knowing one's neighbors can help deter crime.
"When you get out and get to know your neighbors," she said, "the more likely you are to call when something's amiss. We can't be everywhere at once."
It's a message that many people in Pleasanton already seem to know. In recent weeks, a phone call from one resident led to the arrest of an 18-year-old caught in the act of burglarizing another's home in the 800 block of Concord Street, and a call from another resident on Independence Drive brought about the arrest of three men believed responsible for stealing hundreds of checks from throughout the Bay Area.
Groups interested in holding a National Night Out party should register with the Police Department. Applications are available in the lobby, 4833 Bernal Ave., or at www.pleasantonpd.org. The deadline is July 29.
Volunteers, particularly entertainers, are also welcome to contact Revel-Whitaker at 931-5240.