Tonight's the night folks in thousands of communities all across the country will be hanging out with their neighbors celebrating National Night Out.

The National Night Out program is held the first Tuesday of August, and is observed in all 50 states, United States territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.

National Night Out was established in 1984 as a crime prevention program that emphasizes building a partnership between the police and the community.

A young man in Philadelphia named Matt Peskin is credited with launching the first National Night out as a way for people to begin taking back their neighborhoods.

Community involvement is generated through a multitude of local events such as block parties, cookouts, parades, contests, youth activities, and seminars.

Participation in National Night Out has increased from 2.5 million people in 400 communities in 1984 to more than 32 million people in 9,530 communities.

Tonight everyone is encouraged to turn on their house and porch lights, and celebrate the power we all have to control events in our community.

(Source: natw.org)