Community building event ‘National Night Out’ returns to Berkeley Aug. 3

photo of the Berkeley city skyline at sunset
Lisi Ludwig/File
Berkeley’s National Night Out will be held Aug. 3 with participants asked to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health guidelines. The annual campaign is intended to connect communities and build relationships between neighborhoods and city employees.

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National Night Out is returning to Berkeley on Aug. 3, allowing city residents to participate in the community-building event organized by the Berkeley Police Department Community Services Bureau.

The event allows members of the community to organize block parties throughout the city with visits from elected officials and city staff.

“National Night Out attendees will have the opportunity to connect with their neighbors and network with city employees,” said Stefan Elgstrand, spokesperson for Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, in an email. “These events take shape in the form of block parties, cookouts, barbeques, and ice cream socials. There are currently around 40 events confirmed in Berkeley, with more to be planned.”

Residents who wish to register their own party for the festivity can do so online, the city website noted. The information for their gathering will be added to an interactive map that lists all registered events in the city.

The deadline to register a party for this year’s National Night Out was 4 p.m. July 3, according to the website.

“Most events are organized by neighborhood groups, community organizations, and religious institutions, in coordination with the City of Berkeley,” Elgstrand said in an email. “Given the number of sign-ups that have happened to date, it appears we are on track to have a similar turnout compared to 2019.”

The size of registered events can vary from small gatherings to parties of more than a hundred people, according to the National Night Out registration website.

According to the city website, there is no fee to register a block party for the event and hosts are asked to schedule their gatherings between 5 and 9 p.m. Aug. 3.

Berkeley is one of thousands of cities nationwide that participates in National Night Out, an annual campaign that aims to “help communities build relationships with their local public safety department and raise awareness about crime prevention,” according to the city website.

After being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s National Night Out marks the event’s 35th anniversary in the city, according to Elgstrand.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals hosting their own gatherings are asked to comply with all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when planning their events, BPD spokesperson Officer Byron White noted.

Hosts who plan to provide food at their events have been asked to pay special attention to the CDC’s guidance on food handling in order to ensure sanitary potluck conditions, Elgstrand added.

“As these are outdoor events and being outdoors poses a low risk of transmission, there is little impact from COVID-19,” Elgstrand said in an email.

Contact Rachel Raps at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @rachelraps_dc.