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National Night Out links residents, crime prevention
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National Night Out
Featuring representatives from Hall County Sheriff’s Department, Gainesville, Oakwood and Flowery Branch police departments, Georgia State Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Gainesville Fire Department, Hall County Fire Services and Hall County 911
What: Free food, entertainment and seminars about crime
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville
Cost: Free

The annual National Night Out event makes one thing clear: Just say no to drugs and crime.

In its 26th year across the nation, communities will gather with local law enforcement officials on Tuesday to discuss crime prevention.

In Gainesville, Memorial Park Funeral Homes is hosting its third event in cooperation with the Gainesville Target store and Flowery Branch. The event is a way for the community to mingle with law enforcement, said Billy Hendrix, director of public relations for the funeral home.

“I brought it to Gainesville from an event I attended in Houston,” Hendrix said. “It’s such a great time to see the community come together with local police and fire officials.”

Last year’s event attracted more than 300, and Hendrix said he expects even more Tuesday. This year’s event will include discussions about preventing accidental injury for children, 911 education, fire safety and neighborhood watch programs.

“One of the big discussions last year was about Internet scams, what we can do to fight back and what to look for,” he said. “Another was about telephone scams for senior adults and the red flags to look for, like when your name is mispronounced.”

The national event will include more than 15,000 communities from every state, plus U.S. territories, military bases and even Canadian cities. More than 37 million people are expected to participate.

Along with representatives from multiple police departments, Hall County Sheriffs deputies and state officers, the Gainesville event will also feature a Georgia State Patrol helicopter and an ambulance.

The key to the event is building relationships, Hendrix said.

“Even if you don’t have a question today, when you do, now you’ll have a resource to turn to,” he said.

Regional events