Residents in communities across Iowa will be taking part in tonight’s National Night Out Against Crime.

Matt Peskin is the national project coordinator for the 34th annual event which includes activities in at least 60 in Iowa communities and 16,000 cities nationwide.

“The original idea was kind of symbolic, sit on your front porch, turn on the porch light and take a stand against crime,” Peskin says. “As the years have progressed, it’s evolved into the block parties, cookouts, parades and various activities that not only bring neighbors out to meet neighbors but also neighbors out to meet law enforcement.” Iowa will be well-represented in tonight’s events with communities across the state participating in the National Night Out.

“What’s interesting is, if you look at some of these activities and events in Iowa and you looked at some in New York City and you looked at some in Los Angeles, you probably couldn’t tell the difference of where you are,” Peskin says. “It could be anywhere. Each one’s a little different but they’re all the same.” This event is designed to be positive in saluting the work of law enforcement in all kinds of communities.

“There’s really no consistency in the size of the places, there’s small towns, there’s big cities, there’s suburban, there’s rural,” Peskin says. “It’s a nice spirit and a nice theme and it’s a great way to meet law enforcement under positive circumstances.” T

his is a partial list of Iowa communities taking part: Altoona, Ames, Bondurant, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Correctionville, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Dubuque, Elkader, Exira, Fonda, Fort Dodge, Grinnell, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Jackson County, Lake Mills, Le Mars, Marion, Marshall County, Mason City, Milford, North Liberty, Norwalk, Polk City, Quasqueton, Red Oak, Sigourney, Sioux City, Storm Lake, Tama, University Heights, Urbandale, Vinton, Waterloo, Waukon, West Liberty and Windsor Heights. Learn more at the National Association of Town Watch website:

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)