National Night Out pushed back due to heat
Barbeques, parades, picnics and social gatherings are rich occurrences this time of year. Neighbors mingle and meet one another under the hot Texas sun in the spirit of summer.
But the traditional National Night Out which is scheduled for August has been pushed back to October this year as a test to see if participation will increase in milder weather.
National Night Out is a community event organized by the Austin Police Dept., aiming to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness and strengthen the neighborhood spirit and police community relations.
"Neighbors look forward to national night out. It's a big huge event in Austin," Rosie Salinas, Austin Police Dept. said.
As most communities across the country will be celebrating National Night Out, some neighborhoods in Texas will not.
The National Association of Town Watch gave Texas the green light to experiment with an October 7 date.
Organizers in Austin are expecting a greater turnout.
"You have students back from summer vacation. So we could incorporate some of the colleges, AISD schools, some of our faith based programs and most of all our seniors who don't really participate because of the extreme heat in Texas," Salinas said.
But not everyone is buying into the date change. The cities of Hutto, Cedar Park, and Round Rock are holding theirs Tuesday evening with the rest of the country.
Jessie Campbell, with the Cedar Park Police Dept. said it's something they want to participate in with the rest of the country.
"It's a national event and we want to be a part of the national event and not do it on a different day," he said.
Going against the Texas grain has not been easy.
"There's been a lot of confusion," Chief Harold Thomas, with Hutto Police said.
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But organizers in these cities are confident the traditional August date is best.
"It's a summer event, kids aren't in school then so more of them, I think, can participate. It's just when it's always been done," Thomas said.
While some can't agree on the best date to celebrate National Night Out, there's one thing everyone can agree on.
"The most important thing is it's about neighbors getting to know each other so we can watch out for one another," Thomas said.
Organizers say any day that happens is a good one. The National Night Out is scheduled for October 7.