Celebrating National Night Out

National Night Out celebration in Appleton, August 2014

APPLETON - Neighborhood watch groups across the area got together to celebrate National Night Out Tuesday.

For the last decade Joan Porter-Priem's been coming to her neighborhood watch block party in Appleton.

"I think it has brought the block back to life again, because our neighbors are coming out and talking to one another," she told FOX 11

That was just one of the 40-some National Night Out parties across Appleton Tuesday.

Porter-Priem told us having these get togethers makes the city safer.

"I truly believe if you know your neighbor, you are committed to watch out over your neighbor," she said.

The police and fire departments made it a goal to visit each party. Officers answered questions and offered tips on crime prevention and safety.

"We get to meet people in a different atmosphere than we usually do. So it gives us a great opportunity to talk to these folks," explained police Sergeant David Lund.

Porter-Priem said as part of her neighborhood watch, she's called the police about strange people or unfamiliar cars. She said getting to know officers on a personal level helps.

"You're not apprehensive to give them a call and feel like, 'oh, that was a foolish call.' They make you feel relaxed, that, 'no problem, we'll come check it out,'" Porter-Priem explained.

"We're rather go check out that vehicle and have it not be anything than to have somebody that's maybe doing some car entries, or somebody that's doing a burglary," Lund added.

Officers told us it's important to have these extra eyes and ears in the community.

Porter-Priem told us she and her neighbors feel safer after these nights out.

"They really feel more comfortable, because they know their neighbor is looking out for them," she explained.

There were many other area celebrations including in Green Bay, Grand Chute and Fond du Lac.

National Night Out started in 1984. Nearly 40-million people are estimated to have taken part this year.