Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Connor McConeghy has Spider-Man painted on his face by an Oberlin dispatcher.
Porch lights shined bright Tuesday night as Oberlin residents took a stance against crime in their neighborhoods.
The lights were turned on as part of National Night Out tradition, which shows the community’s support for local police officers and their bond in the fight against crime.
People filled the parking lot of the Oberlin police station to enjoy a picnic while also learning about ways to protect themselves, their family, and neighbors.
Officers cooked food and provided drinks, children’s activities, music, face painting, and a coloring contest where four kids had the chance to win a book bag full of school supplies.
Police handed out free literature about crime prevention, car stickers about safer driving, and light bulbs. They also talked about how to keep handguns safe at home.
Crime prevention officer Raymond Feuerstein encouraged residents to go home and put the bulbs on their front and back porches and turn them on.
Criminals do not like when people have lights, he said.
The National Association of Town Watch started the National Night Out program in 1984 with only 2.5 million people participating. Now 38 million people turn on the lights each summer to show solidarity.
“National Night Out is a way to build a relationship with the community and that’s what I intend to do,” said new Oberlin police chief Juan Torres. “We’re going to work together to make this community even safer than it is.”
It was the department’s sixth year taking part in the event.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.