National Night Out at Main Memorial Park, a Proud Clifton Tradition of Unity


National Night Out is a Clifton tradition that’s been held in town since the late 1990s. It started as a small gathering on the Municipal Complex grounds and moved to Main Memorial Park a few years later. National Night Out is an annual community event that is designed to bring police and other groups together.

The concept was started in urban Pennsylvania in the late 1970s when crime was at record levels. Police started to reach out to community organizers to work as partners rather than adversaries. Residents were urged to sit on their front porches with the lights on or sit on stoops and get to know one another to reduce criminal activity at the grassroots level. The first National Night Out took place on the first Tuesday of August in 23 states, primarily still on people’s personal property. Organizers included local and state police departments, law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, crime prevention organizations, and private citizens.

Today, National Night Out is an event held on the first Tuesday in August in all 50 states (except Texas, which celebrates on the first Monday in October), with thousands of villages, towns, and cities participating. Military bases and US territories throughout the world celebrate as well. Events range from small to large gatherings, all designed with a focus on relationships between law enforcement, community organizations, other civic groups, and neighbors. It’s a way of breaking down barriers between each other and working as a team.

Each year, the Clifton Police Department organizes and works with various groups such as the Clifton Recreation Department, Clifton Health Department, Clifton Against Substance Abuse (CASA), and other local organizations. Clifton will again participate in the hugely popular gathering at Main Memorial Park on Main Avenue for the 40th annual National Night Out, starting at 6:00 PM. There will be vehicle demonstrations, games, giveaways, resources, food, and music, and at dusk, the movie Super Mario Bros. will be shown, so bring a lawn chair or beach blanket and enjoy the antics of these crowd-pleasing characters.  It’s a fun, educational event that brings our community together.

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