With pedestrian accidents, stabbings and shootings .. Lakewood has certainly had its share of challenges recently. But this Thursday, police and residents will get a chance to connect and just have fun.

Township police will be hosting its Night Out Against Crime event at Pine Park starting at 4 p.m. Chief Robert Lawson said residents will not only get the chance to meet with police and their fellow neighbors but to connect with volunteer emergency organizations.

"We invite a lot of our emergency response organizations because we use night out as a vehicle to present these organizations to the public to see if they might want to be a part of them," said Lawson.

Lawson explained that they normally hold its Night Out event during the week of the national celebration. "However, this year, since it fell on an Orthodox Jewish holiday we felt that if we had it on that date, the representation from the community would be poor. In fact, nobody from the Orthodox Jewish community would come out."

Lawson said it's their hope to include every member of its multi-ethnic community even if they don't own property or are undocumented so they can feel invested in what's happening in the township.

Lakewood's Night Out Against Crime event is free. It's being held at Pine Park off West County Line Road from 4 to 8 p.m. and will feature inflatable rides, a trackless train, food featuring a kosher barbecue to cotton candy, attractions and giveaways.

It's the 31st anniversary of National Night Out, also known as America's Night Out Against Crime aimed increasing crime prevention activity by promoting neighborhood watch, community camaraderie and communication with local law enforcement.  Access their Facebook page here.

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