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Cheyenne Police public information officer Kevin Malatesta shares a moment with his son George, 2, and daughter Sophia, 7, during the ninth annual Cheyenne Neighborhood Night Out on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Cheyenne Depot Plaza. Hosted by the Cheyenne Police Department, various locations throughout the city were shut down for block parties. Jacob Byk/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – The 10th annual Neighborhood Night Out is set to take place in neighborhoods across Cheyenne on Tuesday, starting around 5 p.m.

Neighborhood Night Out is a national community policing event, usually held the second Tuesday of August. Cheyenne Police Department spokesman Officer Kevin Malatesta said since local residents are a bit worn out in early August after Frontier Days, the department hosts the night out in July.

Block captains, the neighborhood leaders in charge of the event, determine the scope of the neighborhoods and festivities that will take place.

The event is hosted locally by the Cheyenne Police Department as a way to connect with residents and deter crime, Malatesta said.

“Neighborhood Night Out is all about those community ties and strengthening those ties in the neighborhood,” he said.

Cheyenne Police officers will be visiting the various Neighborhood Night Out events to introduce themselves and listen to any concerns community members might have about their neighborhoods.

In events past, officers have participated by playing with kids, singing karaoke and even dressing up in sumo wrestling suits, Malatesta said.

“It’s a great event to come out and get to know our officers, and our officers get to see the folks we’re working for,” he said.

Block captain Robert Lett has hosted the event at Jaycee Park for the past nine years. He said Neighborhood Night Out helps bring people together and get them to know their neighbors.

He said he now has all of his neighbors’ phone numbers and knows their names. It also helps people look out for one another.

An example he used was instead of a house being “some old man’s house,” that person now has a name, and people are able to recognize unusual activity. For example, if people see flashlights flashing through a window, they’ll know if that is normal or if someone is potentially being robbed.

Wendy Soto is one of the organizers for Highlands Presbyterian Church’s Neighborhood Night Out event. She said the church wants to let people know it is a part of the neighborhood, is welcoming and inclusive.

“In a closer knit community, people will look out for one another,” Soto said. “I know in my neighborhood, I had a package out on my doorstep and it was raining, and (a neighbor) took it inside for me.”

Neighborhood Night Out block parties will have food and entertainment available for community members wanting to participate.

If people don’t have a neighborhood party to go to, Malatesta said, he encourages them to consider being a block captain next year and starting one. There will also be an event Tuesday at the Cheyenne Depot Plaza downtown, hosted by the police department for anyone who would like to come.

Isabella Alves is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at ialves@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter @IsabellaAlves96.

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