Ten-thousand cities across the U.S. are expected to take part in tonight’s (Tuesday) National Night Out, including dozens of Iowa communities. Des Moines police spokesman Sergeant Todd Dykstra says Iowa’s largest city hopes to heighten awareness of crime and drug prevention programs through the get-togethers.

Dykstra says 25 or 30 neighborhood associations are organizing events like mini-carnivals, ice cream socials and pot-luck dinners. Mason City is hosting one big event tonight at the city’s East Park. Mason City police officer Larry Carroll says the evening offers a chance for law enforcement to interact with citizens.

Carroll says National Night Out is a place where the police and the community can come together and have a good time and help strengthen community spirit, boost police-community relations and to send a message to criminals. He encourages Mason City residents to lock their doors, turn on their porch lights, and meet at the park band shell.

Carroll says there are free hot dogs & pop, big inflatable domes for kids to jump around in, as well as fire trucks, an ambulance and police vehicles to explore. There’ll also be live music and other entertainment. The event will conclude with a flashlight safety walk through several neighborhoods, which is meant as an example of the city’s unified stance against crime.