The Blue Springs Police Department is encouraging residents to focus on crime prevention and safety during the 15th annual National Night Out Against Crime event.

The event, sponsored by the Community and Youth Outreach Unit, is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at the intersection of Main and 15th streets in downtown Blue Springs. This is a free, family-friendly event involving law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials.

“This is important for the community because it gives us the opportunity to reinforce the community mindset to take care of ourselves and our neighbors,” said Sgt. Allen Kintz, National Night Out coordinator and officer with the Blue Springs Police Department. “They are the first line of defense in preventing criminal activity, but we need to bring that attitude to the forefront. This also helps to build the partnership between the Police Department and the Citizens which is absolutely essential in making a safe, vibrant community.”

Blue Springs Councilman Dale Carter, who is also the morning show co-host for Country 94.1 KFKF, will emcee the event’s main stage. Entertainment includes an appearance from Mac, from the Missouri Mavericks, a magic exhibition by former Mayor Steve Steiner and dancers from TaJazz School of Dance.

Among the participating organizations are Central Jackson County Fire Protection District, Crime Stoppers/TIPS Hotline, Blue Springs Police Department STAT Team, Lee’s Summit Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team, Missouri Department of Transportation and many more.

Similar events are traditionally held in August. However, Blue Springs has moved the celebration back to October the past few years to avoid the summer heat.

“This is a community bonding experience where young and old alike can get together, have a positive, fun experience and receive some great information on the availability of many community resources,” Kintz said. “It also is an opportunity for families to come out for a free meal. There is no charge for any part of NNO (National Night Out) to the community members.”

National Night Out, which has been sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch for almost 30 years, was created to strengthen participation in local anti-crime efforts. It focuses on strengthening neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; generating support and participation for local anti-crime programs, increasing awareness of crime and drug prevention campaigns and showing criminals that neighborhoods are organized and want to fight back.

During the first year, 400 communities in 23 states participated in a National Night Out Against Crime event. In 2011, 37 million people in all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases were involved.

Several organizations sponsor the Blue Springs National Night Out. These include Target, UMB Bank, Price Chopper, Rancho Grande Cantina, Sonic, Wing Stop, Blue Springs Ford, Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce, Blue Springs Downtown Alive!, Blue Springs Family YMCA, Panera Bread, Blue Springs McDonald’s, Odd Fellows, Blue Springs 8 Theater, Kennedy’s Custom Jewelers and the Hilton Garden Inn in Independence.

For additional information about the Blue Springs National Night Out Against Crime event including scheduled vendors and performances, visit call 816-228-0178.