By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(Aug. 1, 2019) The Ocean Pines Police Department will focus on crime prevention and community partnerships during its second annual National Night Out event next Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 5-7 p.m. at White Horse Park on 235 Ocean Parkway.
An estimated 30 groups plan to attend the free block party to greet the public, hand out information, offer giveaways, and provide games and activities for children.
The Ocean Pines Police Department will conduct a drone demonstration, give away children’s bicycles through a raffle, and offer a dunking tank that will include as its victims Police Chief David Massey and Maryland Delegate Wayne Hartman. Additionally, the Ocean Pines Fire Department will bring a fire truck and a command vehicle.
“Anybody who has a gripe against the police can [try and] hit me,” Massey said.
The event is designed increase public awareness of preventing crime and drug abuse, generate support for local anti-crime efforts, and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
“We’re one of the safest communities in Maryland per capita and it’s important that we keep our citizens involved with the police department to keep the crime rate down,” Massey said.
Massey determined Ocean Pines’ level of safety as compared to other communities based on results from a security company that calculates the number of criminal incidents versus an area’s population.
This being said, Massey believes it is important to stay involved with the community to keep those crime rates down.
“Sometimes when you do such a good job as far as keeping crime rates down, people get disinterested,” Massey said. “The citizens are our best resources for catching criminals. They see things and report things and we have a very interactive community that will call us, so it’s important we keep interest in the community.”
Low crime rates can also lead to better housing values.
“Keeping the crime rate down is really good for Realtors and property values too,” Massey said. “We have a lot of people who relocate from the large cities … trying to escape crime. If they see a low crime rate in Ocean Pines, then they’re more apt to buy here and move here, which keeps the property values up.”
Children’s activities planned for the event include a Skee-Ball game from Berlin First Baptist Church, crafts stations courtesy of the Girl Scouts and Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, glitter braids by the United Way, a kids’ art activity station from the Worcester County Arts Council, and a pop-up bicycle park hosted by the Eastern Shore chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association.
Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks will also operate several game stations, and White Horse Park features an all-new playground with a zipline, jungle gym, and multiple merry-go-rounds and swing sets.
For adults and children, the Kiwanis will hand out free hotdogs and drinks, Mister Softee will provide free ice cream, and the Pinesteppers will present a square-dancing demonstration. Many other local nonprofits and organizations plan to distribute information and offer raffle and door prizes such as back-to-school supplies and Jolly Roger Amusement Park passes.
There will also be information for seniors and veterans from the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce, Choptank Electric Cooperative, Republic Services, Diakonia, Worcester County Health Department, Atlantic General Hospital, Worcester Goes Purple, Hope4Recovery, Cricket Center, Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction, Faith Baptist Church, Women’s Club of Ocean Pines, Ocean Pines Neighborhood Watch and the Worcester County States Attorney’s Office.
National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch and this year will take place in more than 16,790 communities in the United States and Canada, as well as at military bases throughout the world. In total, more than 38.6 million people are expected to participate in “America’s Night Out Against Crime.”
This year will mark the second time Ocean Pines has had a National Night Out.
“Last year’s event was outstanding,” Massey said. “You don’t know when you first start an event what kind of reception you will get, but we had a lot of people. I think we’ll have even more this year.”