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In its eighth year and with two events at BirchwoodVillage and Austin Park, the National Night Out movement might not have taken hold in Batavia the way organizers and the Batavia Police Department would have hoped. But for the former, it’s a reminder to band together and make new connections.

In 2011, city leaders wanted to revive National Night Out – a country-wide initiative to strengthen connections between neighbors and law enforcement to cultivate safer communities – and immediately turned to Birchwood Village and its 450 residents.

“We constitute a large portion of the city population and it’s a family community,” Barbara Greenbaum, executive director of Birchwood Village, said. “We have seniors and families and singles. It’s just across the board a representation of any other neighborhood in Batavia.”

Greenbaum says the residents are enthusiastic about coming to the event to meet and greet with both new and familiar neighbors, as well as take in police demonstrations and learning more about their larger community. 

“Our residents become familiar with the police, the fire department, other city departments, the youth bureau…they’re all part of this,” Greenbaum said. “The city council and Jason Molino have brought them all in to become part of this National Night Out, so our residents get to become familiar with their community leaders and their community service organizations.”

Detective Richard Schauf of the Batavia Police Department says the event is beneficial for law enforcement as well.

“It’s given a positive role of the police in the community,” Det. Schauf said, “not just as enforcers of the law but as problem-solvers and a place to turn to for resources.”

It begins at Birchwood and Austin Park tonight at 6.

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