With all the turmoil in the world, events like National Night Out are needed now more than ever, according to Karen Hunt, crime prevention officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

On Aug. 2, American citizens will join together at events around the nation in an effort to eradicate crime and disorderly conduct from their towns and neighborhoods. The City of Hesperia and the Town of Apple Valley will hold their own National Night Out programs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the parking lots of the Super Target Shopping Center, 20288 Highway 18, Apple Valley, and the Super Target Shopping Center, 12795 Main St., Hesperia.

“This is really like a big Neighborhood Watch event that allows everyone in the community to get together to learn about safety,” said Hunt.

Along with offering all kinds of information about how to build a safer community, National Night Out also will feature activities such as face painting, fingerprinting and a sheriff's and fire vehicle exhibition. There also will be complimentary food items.

According to Hunt, deputies desire to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are aware of what they’re up to and are prepared to fight back.

During the National Night Out program, law enforcement personnel will be on hand to offer crime prevention tips and tools, such as how to start a Neighborhood Watch group.

Hunt also said that a lot of safety information will be handed out and McGruff the Crime Dog is scheduled to appear.

“There always seems to be quite a few people who attend the event that inquire about starting Neighborhood Watch groups,” said Hunt. “It’s nice that our residents can come and have this information at their fingertips.”

The first National Night Out took place on Aug. 7, 1984 and drew 2.5 million participants in 23 states. The program is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of various crime prevention programs.

This includes Neighborhood Watch groups, law enforcement agencies, state and regional crime prevention associations, businesses, civic groups, and individuals, according to its website, www.nationalnightout.org.

According to NATW’s executive director Matt Peskin, over 37 million people now participate in National Night Out events in the United States and Canada.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police-community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie," said Peskin in a statement on NATW’s website.

“While the one night is certainly not an answer to crime, drugs and violence, National Night Out represents the kind of spirit, energy and determination to help make neighborhoods a safer place year round. The night celebrates safety and crime prevention successes and works to expand and strengthen programs for the next 364 days.”

For more information, visit www.applevalley.org or www.cityofhesperia.us.