Police department increases awareness for student safety

Criminals beware, on Oct. 4 the streets are being taken back by the UTSA community. Over 37 million people, from more than 15,000 communities across America, are taking part in the National Night Out (NNO).

The event is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) and Target department stores, and held to raise awareness on crime and drug prevention in local areas. This will be the second year UTSA hosts the event.

“Safety for all the students is the main aim,” said Rich Barber, administrative assistant of the UTSA Police Department. “National Night Out is all about having a good time but learning how to protect yourself.”

NNO originally started 28 years ago, and was created to increase community participation in crime prevention.

It has steadily grown since its debut back in 1984 when it started with a mere 2.5 million participants and has since then increased to 37 million in 2010. Last year, 800 UTSA students participated. This year, UTSA PD hopes to have an even bigger turnout. The planning for National Night Out has been taking place since July.

“It will be better than last year; we really want to build on last year,” said Barber.

The evening will involve a range of activities such as face and finger painting. Also popcorn, soft drinks and candy will be given away. There will also be a prize drawing, featuring two $250 savings bond prizes donated by Frost Bank. To kick-start the night, comedian Cleto Rodriguez from Channel 4 News WOIA and ‘The Cleto Show,’ will be the guest speaker, followed by UTSA’s Football Coach, Larry Coker and the Chief of UTSA Police, Steve Barrera. The local fire department will be performing safety demonstrations while the UTSA Athletics department will be hosting activities of their own.

The purpose of the National Night Out is to strengthen neighborhood spirit, enhance police-community partnerships and heighten awareness on crime, drugs and violence. The event will be hosted in the Paseo by the University Center on Oct. 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.