2 ‘National Night Out’ walks in city

They’re walking to raise awareness, prevent crime, promote community safety and bring neighbors together with one another.

On Tuesday night, two separate groups are planning community walks as part of the 30th annual “National Night Out” event taking place in cities and municipalities across the nation.

One of the walks starts at 6:30 p.m. outside of 901 Memorial Ave., and the other at 6 p.m. in the parking lot at St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2010 Newberry St.

Walkers in the center city will cover Memorial Avenue and High Street, from First to Sixth avenues.

Those in Newberry and Jaysburg, will go along Newberry and Diamond streets, continue to Arch and Third street, travel west on Third to Poplar Street and go north through Newberry Park, ending at West Fourth and Diamond streets.

Should it rain, the walks are scheduled for the same places and time Wednesday.

It’s not only for people in neighborhood watch groups.

“We’re not just inviting people who belong to neighborhood watch groups across the city,” said Jeff Reeder, organizer and president of the Williamsport Citizens Corps Council.

Along with the walk, Reeder has asked households to turn on their porch lights.

“Even if residents are unable to join the walk they can show their support by continuing the tradition of turning on their outside lights or holding a front porch vigil,” Alannah Gabriel of the Newberry Neighborhood Partnership said.

Reeder acknowledged one night may not be the solution to solving all crime, drugs and violence, but it represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination that is helping make many neighborhoods safer places throughout the year. It also hopefully sends a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back, he added.