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National Night Out approaching, Odessa police in need of block party hosts

National Night Out 2016 in Odessa (Source: Dora McGinnis). National Night Out 2016 in Odessa (Source: Dora McGinnis).
MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) -

National Night Out is quickly approaching. On Oct. 3, residents across the country will host block parties, aimed at bringing the community together with law enforcement.

If you didn't know, National Night Out was started by the National Association of Town Watch.

One local block in Odessa is focused on safety. They grew close through their neighborhood watch group.

"You can't just sit on the couch and watch TV. You have to be outside and see what's going on," said neighborhood watch captain, Dora McGinnis.

McGinnis has lived on the same street in Odessa for 17 years.

"There's times we come outside and just walk around and just see if there is anything going on," said McGinnis.

Her block started their neighborhood watch 3 years ago.

"I don't know who that is," said McGinnis as a unfamiliar truck parked on her street.

All of the neighbors watch out for anything out of the ordinary on their street.

"Just to build a bond. We just all look out for each other, keep each other safe," said McGinnis.

Now every year, McGinnis' block and others across the country come together to bond and bring awareness to crime prevention.

"That's just our one time of year that we just get together and cook out and all visit with each other at the the same time," she said.

McGinnis knows not everyone has the same experience with their neighbors that she has.

"I've talked to some people and they're just like, 'Oh no. I can't stand my neighbors.' It's just a shame."

She says reaching out and offering to help out your community could go a long way.

"Everyone just get together. Start out with getting to know the ones that are right next door to you. I wish everyone could have the neighborhood that I have," said McGinnis.

While residents focus on safety, local police departments use this event to interact and get to know residents of the community.

"There's never been a more important time to do this with rising tensions across the country," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department. "Fortunately, right here in Odessa, they are very supportive of us. It's important to know, not every officer is perfect. We make mistakes. We're human beings, but the vast majority of us do our job. We do a great job and it's important to have events like this to build relationships of trust with the community."

The Odessa Police Department has struggled to get residents to sign up. They currently have 14 blocks hosting parties. Midland has 50.

Odessa police says if you don't want to host the party at your house, it can be held at a nearby park or church.

You still have time to sign up whether you live in Midland or Odessa.

Odessa residents should go here: http://bit.ly/2fBi5TK. There is a form you will need to fill out with your basic information and location of your block party. You can also call Cpl. Michael Hamilton at (432)-335-3361.

If you live in Midland, go here: http://bit.ly/2xgpJgo. You can also call Jessica Rodriguez (432)-685-7582 for more information.

Signing up ensures first responders will make it out to your party.

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