Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Thousand SW Siders to Show Unity Against Crime During National Night Out

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

About a thousand Southwest Siders are expected to take a
public stand against crime at the area’s annual National Night Out Against Crime celebration, set for Tuesday, Aug. 7.

An NNO event for all residents of the Chicago Lawn (8th) Police District is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St. Year after year, it is one of Chicago’s largest and most successful NNO celebrations.

“I call it our ‘Mayberry’ event because it brings people together with a real small-town feel,” said West Lawn resident Barbara Ziegler, the event’s principal organizer and one of the most visible civilian crime fighters in Chicago. “It’s draws a wide range of people—from babies in strollers to moms and dads to senior citizens, everyone; and while it’s a lot of fun, it’s also about bringing people together to build safer and better neighborhoods—not just in West Lawn—but all across the district, which we do every year.”

Ziegler, who heads the Eighth’s District’s volunteer court advocacy program—arguably the largest and most effective in the city—said that about 800 men, women and children will be at the event.

When she started running the event 17 years ago, “We had a cooler filled with pop and some balloons. About 25 people showed up,” she recalled with a chuckle. 

The event will include a prayer, remarks by police officials
CPD mounted units are always a popular sight at West Lawn Park.
and elected representatives, a “peace parade” around the perimeter of the park at 6:30 p.m., and more. Special emphasis will be placed on thanking Chicago Police and others in law enforcement.

CPD’s mounted patrol and canine units will be on hand to give demonstrations, and there will be a number of giveaways for adults and children who live in the district, while supplies last. A color TV will be raffled off; those who march are eligible to win.

Cold drinks, snow cones, popcorn and other treats will be available to keep everyone cool.

Included in the goody bags for adults is potentially lifesaving information that includes basic tips on how to make an effective 911 call, how to escape domestic violence, how to join the local CAPS effort and more.

A number of local businesses, large and small, have made contributions to the NNO at West Lawn Park, now in its 17th year. Nationally, NNO is in its 35th year.

At dusk, a movie suitable for families will be shown outside. All are welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

West end

While the NNO celebration at West Lawn Park is for people in every neighborhood in the district, two crime fighting organizations on the west end are planning their own, smaller events.

In Beat 812 (the Clearing neighborhood west of Central Avenue), the Clearing Night Force neighborhood watch group will gather near Hale School at 62nd and Melvina for a prayer vigil at 6:30 p.m., followed by refreshments at Hale Park.

The site at 62nd and Melvina is a memorial to two local girls who lost their lives in a gang-related shooting in 1995.

Community shock and outrage over the double homicide led to the formation of the Clearing Night Force, one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhood watch groups.

The Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch, which serves Beat
811 (all of Garfield Ridge west of Central Avenue), will organize a fire truck-led motorcade that will start at 7 p.m. at St. Daniel the Prophet Church, 54th and Nashville, and wind up and down the neighborhood’s arterial streets.

It will end where it started, capped off with a brief prayer vigil at dusk.

All Beat 811 residents are invited to join in the motorcade and attend the vigil afterwards.

For more information on the district-wide observance at West Lawn Park, call the CPD Eighth District CAPS Office at (312) 747-8724.

For information on the Clearing NNO event, call (773) 340-8021 or send an email to

For information on the Garfield Ridge NNO event, send an email to

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