There will be potlucks galore, BBQs, talent shows, live music and food demonstrations — if you’re wondering how you missed hearing about the parties tonight, do not fear, there’s sure to be one you can join near where you live.

Today is National Night Out day, and a total of 52 permits have been issued by the Berkeley Police Department for neighborhood block parties and street closures across the city.

The simple concept behind National Night Out is that neighbors get to know one another. While an obvious benefit is a more friendly place to live, it has also been shown that crime reduction begins when communities come together, organize and find common grounds that lead to safer neighborhoods for families and neighbors.

In Berkeley, the neighbors of 63rd Street are holding a movie night in the 63rd Street mini-park as well as a BBQ and potluck; Avis Road residents are throwing in some emergency preparation training along with their grilling; and the Halcyon neighborhood group is organizing a safety walk. But, mostly, residents are just saying ‘bring a dish’ and come say hello to each other — with potlucks being the order of the day.

City of Berkeley staff, police officers and fire fighters will all be out and about at block parties to help strengthen community relations.

Check out the full list of events here; note that a City of Berkeley a block permit is necessary for street closures and registration is now closed.

This year is the 28th National Night Out nationally and the initiative is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...