MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- National Night Out celebrations will give neighbors the opportunity to come together in four Milwaukee County Parks Tuesday, August 5th and Thursday, August 7th.
Events focus on the importance of neighbors keeping watch of their community as a means to prevent crime. Food, music, kid-friendly activities, and visits with local law-enforcement personnel round out the celebrations.
While the nights are meant to take a stand against crime, there are still conflicting views about how to curb violence in Milwaukee as a whole.
"I don't want them to be scared of where they live," said Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.
Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn says August is typically a violent month in the city. In an effort to bring peace to the streets, his department is working over time.
"We have a plan that has resulted in 15,000 arrests in six months," said Flynn.
Clarke is critical of the plan, calling it a "whack-a-mole" strategy. He wants the department to hire at least 300 new officers to help combat crime.
"Hiring 100 or 200 or 300 or whatever fanciful number they want to come up with would take at least a year. it would have nothing to do with this summer and not much to do with next summer," said Flynn.
As the debate plays out, residents can take comfort in knowing they will be safe during the National Night Out festivities.
Celebrations Tuesday, Aug. 5:
Kosciuszko Park, from 4-8 p.m.
Because the event coincides with the Summer’s Best Concert Series, visitors will hear salsa, merengue, bachata, funk, and more in a performance by Spanglish from 6-8:30 p.m. To keep the kids age 4-14 occupied, Artists Working in Education (AWE) will offer free art activities from 6-8 p.m. The park is located at 2201 S. 7 St.
Hales Corners Park, from 5-9 p.m.
The event includes a private helicopter landing. New this year is a Kids Fun Run. The park is located at 5765 S. New Berlin Road.
Lincoln Park at the Blatz Pavilion, from 5-9 p.m.
The park is located at 1301 W. Hampton Ave.
Celebrations Thursday, Aug. 7:
Kops Park, from 6-9 p.m.
The park is located at 3321 N. 86 St.
For more information on the National Night Out program, visit natw.org