‘Nosy Neighbors’ Win U.S. Praise

The Windward Neighborhood Security Watch (WNSW) has been recognized with a national award for hosting an outstanding National Night Out last summer in Kailua.

Also known as America’s Night Out Against Crime, the campaign reached more than 15,325 communities in all 50 states in 2012, and Kailua’s version merited a framed certificate for its successful police-community partnership Aug. 7, designed to let criminals know that “Hawaii neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.” The award is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), and it’s a first-ever for Oahu since island night-outs began in 2001.

The evening program, coordinated by HPD Sgt. Duane Samson and WNSW coordinators group president Carlene MacPherson, brought together all of Oahu’s NSW groups – hundreds of volunteers – by bus to Kailua Town Center for ceremonials, VIP speeches, traffic sign waving, a citizens patrol through the town, vendors, exhibits, dinner and entertainment.

“These (NSW volunteers) are the eyes and ears of the neighborhoods, with little reward,” said MacPherson at the time, “so we recognize them with certificates and the free dinner. Plus others can learn about neighborhood watch and how to participate.”

Kailua’s Night Out was 100 percent “neighbor-oriented” with dinner provided by the Hawaii Job Corps culinary arts program, hula by Mapuana de Silva and Halau Mohala Ilima, music by Kapena and the Celtic Pipes and Drums, a Marine Corps color guard and Le Jardin Academy students singing the national anthem.

“While one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence,” stated NATW executive director Matt Peskin, “National Night Out does represent the kind of spirit, energy and determination that is helping to make many neighborhoods safer places throughout the year.”

The local group recently won a $1,000 grant from Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, which it will use to purchase NSW shirts and signs for all of its Windward watchers, and to support Project CLEAN in the second quarter of this year.

Residents wanting to start their own neighborhood watch are urged to call HPD Sgt. Duane Samson at 723-8874.