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August 14th, 2015 at 10:00 am

National Night Out (NNO) Against Crime is an annual event that takes place throughout the United States. NNO is a community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.

This year, Cindi Powalski from our Mission Viejo office once again attended the Lake Forest event. She and her team dedicated their booth to missing persons and what to do in the event that a loved one does go missing.

Her involvement goes well beyond the annual event, though. She is an acting member of the Orange County Sheriff Department Reserve Search and Rescue Unit. Members of this unit are on call 24/7 to assist in the search for missing persons, as well as for other reasons. They conduct ground searches and use bloodhounds when necessary, and mutual aid takes them into other counties, such as San Diego.

“As a REALTOR®, community is the most important thing to me,” Powalski said. “I work hard to promote neighborhood ‘friendliness’ in order to keep our families safe. Knowing about the city you live in is vital for future growth and safety, so I nurture it by participating in as many events as I am able.”

Basket w cookiesgroup shot

Powalksi and her team handed out fliers with literature discussing the myths about missing persons, what you should do and who you should call should someone you know go missing. The gift basket, pictured above, contained almost $100 worth of personal-defense items, such as a flashlight, whistle, solar-powered cell phone charger, first-aid kit, and more.

The event was staffed by first responders and attended by city officials and local businesses. Attendees enjoyed and learned from many activities like SWAT dog demos, bomb squad displays, and personal-defense demonstrations. Emergency vehicles including fire trucks were on display. The annual event is a great way to connect with the community, teach your children about the importance of safety, meet public officials, and enjoy free food and activities.

Preserving your community and ensuring your family’s safety has more than just the obvious benefits. When a neighborhood is perceived as safe, it becomes more desirable to live in, potentially increasing the value of your home, and inviting more growth and business into the community.

If you are interested in getting involved in the safety of your community, there are several organizations just like National Night Out that you can join. National Association of Town Watch, a network of law-enforcement agencies, neighborhood-watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime-prevention associations, and concerned citizens, is the organization that makes National Night Out possible. Similar national programs you can join are National Neighborhood Watch, a division of the National Sheriff’s Association, and the National Crime Prevention Council.

Are you a member of a local organization we did not mention? Tell us about it!

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