Many San Mateo residents left their cars in their driveways Tuesday evening and instead attended one of many National Night Out events throughout the city.
National Night Out, started 28 years ago, is an annual event that encourages neighbors to come together for the purpose of making their communities safe from crime.
Police Chief Susan Manheimer and City Manager Susan Loftus, accompanied by McGruff, the famous crime solving dog, toured the city in a vintage police car and spoke to residents about their concerns.
“Everyone who lives, works and plays in San Mateo is part of this community,” Manheimer told a large crowd outside the Martin Luther King Community Center.
Manheimer also praised Target, a sponsor of the event nationally, whose representatives attended the events and handed out free merchandise.
Other city and county officials, including Vice Mayor David Lim and District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, also made the rounds at the various events.
Residents along Aragon Boulevard closed a block to host a party complete with a buffet and a bouncy castle.
Tuesday was the first time this group had put together a National Night Out event, due to the efforts of San Francisco Police Officer Pilar Torres, a resident of the block. Now, Torres says the whole block is excited for next year’s celebration.
At a house party on West 3rd Avenue, the hosts, Anna and Jay Kuhre, insisted that new neighbors stand up and introduce themselves. The new residents were welcomed with enthusiastic applause.
According to Ben Toy, who attended the event, National Night Out represents a return to simpler times.
“National Night Out returns us to the roots of what makes America great,” said Toy, who serves as President of the San Mateo United Homeowners Association.
“It’s that ‘Small Town USA’ feel.”