National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Community members at a National Night Out event last year. Photo: Emilie Raguso

More than 50 Berkeley community organizations and neighborhood groups will host block parties Tuesday night as part of a national campaign to foster community spirit and increase awareness about public safety and disaster preparedness.

The events are part of the 31st annual celebration of National Night Out, a program “to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships,” according to a Berkeley Police Department community message sent in July.

As part of the event, local public safety staff from the police and fire departments, as well as city officials and staff, make the rounds to events scheduled all over town to introduce themselves and connect with the public. Photographs from some of last year’s parties can be seen here on Berkeleyside.

The event happens annually on the first Tuesday in August. The national campaign includes all 50 states and over 37 million people, according to the Berkeley Police Department.

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
At last year’s National Night Out, neighbors came together to chat and enjoy tasty treats together. Photo: Emilie Raguso
At last year’s National Night Out, neighbors came together to chat and enjoy tasty treats together. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Events in Berkeley will be hosted mostly by neighborhood groups. Some churches and the Central and Claremont branches of the Berkeley Public Library will also host gatherings this year.

Though many of the events are intended primarily to help neighbors meet neighbors, the central library’s celebration is open to the public and takes place from 6-8 p.m. in the courtyard near the library’s main entrance, at 2020 Kittredge St. at Harold Way. The Downtown Berkeley Association is also an event sponsor. Crafts for youth and free cookies from Cafe Clem are on the agenda.

A list of scheduled events can be viewed here. A map of the block parties, along with several events aimed at the broader community, appears in the latest Berkeley Police newsletter.

National Night Out, which aims to “celebrate community, safety, disaster preparedness, and the fight against crime,” comes just a few weeks after the appointment of Berkeley’s first chief resilience officer, a position created to build community and prepare Berkeley for natural disaster. (Stay tuned to Berkeleyside for details about the new position.)

National Night Out, Aug. 6, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Last year, neighbors around Adeline Street came together for a movie screening on National Night Out. Photo: Emilie Raguso

This year, authorities encouraged participation in National Night Out in conjunction with the city’s popular free dumpster program. A Tuesday night gathering can count as one of the two community meetings required to qualify a neighborhood group for the program.

Most registered organizations have planned to host a potluck or barbecue Tuesday night. The city traditionally waives the $15 fee for closing the block as part of National Night Out.

Community members with questions about the program can contact Officer Stephanie Polizziani at 510-981-5772 or via email at

Charles Siler is a summer intern at Berkeleyside. He grew up in the North Bay and now attends Tulane University in New Orleans. He can be reached at This story was updated several hours after publication with an updated list of neighborhood events.

Berkeley street parties celebrate neighborhood safety (08.07.13)
National Night Out comes to Berkeley on Tuesday (08.02.13)
Fighting crime in Berkeley one potluck at a time (08.08.12)
Company of neighbors, good food at local block parties (08.03.11)

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