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Neighborly effort

City-sponsored block party aims to unite residents in resisting crime.

August 04, 2010|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com
(Roger WIlson )

Neighbors and law enforcement gathered at 18 block parties to help Burbank "strike out crime" on Tuesday evening for National Night Out.

At the city-sponsored block party at Keystone Street along the Chandler Bikeway, neighbors enjoyed snow cones while children had their faces painted, threw a round in a bullpen or snapped a picture with the white Target dog at the company's booth. Residents could also hop on a police motorcycle or climb through a SWAT team truck.

"This is all about improving communication and cooperation in the community," Mayor Anja Reinke said onstage.

Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse also accepted a $2,500 check from Target, which was a corporate sponsor for the event.

Both LaChasse and the mayor emphasized the importance of building relationships among neighbors and reaching out to cooperate with businesses.

The public safety grant will be used to fund events such as National Night Out and Neighborhood Watch efforts.

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Target executive Walter Young said there were a number of other applications for the grant, but "it was an easy decision when comparing Burbank Police Department with the rest."

Elsewhere in the city, residents brought out classic cars, like a red Ford Falcon Ranchero, and gathered around bounce houses on neighbors' lawns.

Lorena Mendez-Quiroga, who had organized a block party at 1112 N. Rose St. for the past five years, was expecting 300 people to stop by Tuesday.

"This brings people together and helps us unite as a community. We want to beautify our community, not for property values, but because it's our home," she said.

Mendez-Quiroga and her neighbors have made it a point to reach out to businesses for the "West of Pass Beautification Project" to revitalize the neighborhood.

"This is important because we want to get to know everybody," Mendez-Quiroga said. "Sometimes all you have is a neighbor."

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