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National Night Out

Officer Dave Owens, with the Bellefontaine Neighbors police department, talks with volunteers at the city's Night Out block party on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at Bellefontaine United Methodist Church. Photo by Christian Gooden,

ST. LOUIS •  Many neighborhoods in the St. Louis area on Tuesday night will be taking part in National Night Out, a celebration that most communities across America held in August.

St. Louis city and some other municipalities in the metro area will join thousands of cities — mostly in Texas — for the police-community program, which are essentially block parties designed to get neighbors outside, being neighborly, to help combat crime.

Matt Peskin, founder and executive director of National Association of Town Watch, started the National Night Out program in 1984. This is its 35th year. It used to be held the first Tuesday in August, and most U.S. cities stuck with the August date, Peskin said. But the heat in August caused Texas and a few others to switch to October. In addition to St. Louis, Maplewood, Ellisville and Mascoutah are among the area municipalities holding a celebration Tuesday instead.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden is among the guests slated to speak at the National Night Out sponsored by the North Central Special Business District on Delmar Boulevard. The event at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, 4300 Delmar Boulevard, will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The temperature tonight across the St. Louis area is expected to be in the lower 80s or upper 70s.

Peskin said people typically meet police under negative circumstances, and this is a way to bring them together in a positive light. It's also a way for neighbors to meet one another. Although the national organization promotes the event, most of the planning is done by city halls and neighborhood organizations. Local mayors, police officers and firefighters are among those who typically stop by the various block parties.

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