National Night Out was established in 1984 with funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice. The program is administered by the National Association of Town Watch, a nationwide organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and protection of community-based, law enforcement affiliated crime prevention activities.
National Night Out was developed as a crime prevention program that emphasizes building a partnership between the police and the community. Community involvement in crime prevention is generated through a multitude of local events, such as block parties, cookouts, parades, contests,
youth activities, and seminars. With continued funding from BJA, participation in National Night Out crime prevention activities has increased from 2.5 million people in 400 communities in 1984 to more than 32 million people in 9,530 communities in 1999. Project 365, which helps communities target specific problems over the course of the year, was also developed through BJA funding.
National Night Out’s objectives include refining the nationwide crime prevention campaign, documenting successful crime prevention strategies, expanding Project 365, disseminating information about successful community-based strategies, providing technical assistance on crime prevention program development, and developing the National Night Out Web site. With continued support from BJA,
National Night Out is making communities across the nation safer places to live.