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A Night to Unite

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Fort Lupton police help foster better communities during National Night Out

FORT LUPTON — Fort Lupton turned out in force at Koshio Park for the 30th anniversary celebration of National Night Out, a program to demonstrate a community’s resolve to stand up against crime.
    The members of the Fort Lupton Police and the Fort Lupton Fire Protection were on-hand to meet with the public and discuss what residents can do to help keep their neighborhoods safe.
    But for Eli Cafferty, 24, it was also nice to just meet the emergency responders and thank them for their work.

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    “We moved here almost two years ago,” Cafferty said. “Our old apartment was in Thornton, and I had my car broken into twice in the parking lot. So ... it’s good for people to be out in their yards where people can see them.”
    According to the organization’s press release for this year’s event, the National Night Out event last year involved 37.5 million people in 15,704 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.
    “National Night Out 2013, the 30th anniversary, is expected to be the largest ever,” the release read. “National Night Out, a yearlong community building campaign, is designed to: (1) heighten crime prevention awareness, (2) generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs, (3) strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and (4) send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”
    Firefighters with the Fort Lupton Fire Protection passed out fire hats and coloring books under the watchful gaze of an automated mascot in the form of a remote-controlled toy fire truck. The coloring books feature an exercise for parents to do with their children: making a map of escape routes for the home in case of a fire.
    The police hosted a bike-trick rodeo, and for the crowd, officers drew names for the winners of free bicycles.
    Paul Wilcox, 71, was hoping that his 5-year-old grandson might win a bike, but he wasn’t worried when it didn’t pan out.
    “He’s been on the jumping castle for 45 minutes. He’ll be sleeping soundly tonight,” Wilcox said. “I haven’t visited Fort Lupton for a few years, but we never had problems with crime. But it’s different for different people. For us, it’s always been quiet.”
    Statistics released earlier this summer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations suggest that the crime rate has been dropping in Fort Lupton. The CBI released its annual report on crimes July 1, and the total number of offenses reported by Fort Lupton Police dropped from 209, in 2011, to 96, in 2012.
    But the mood at the event wasn’t about a somber reflection of crime statistics.     Cafferty watched his kids dance on the grass outside the gazebo with dancers from Fort Lupton High School.
    “It’s also just a good night to go out to the park and hang out,” Cafferty said.

Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email bwiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.