Last updated: February 16. 2013 3:40PM - 341 Views

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It was a show of force.

Residents of Dupont and Duryea paraded down Foote Avenue Tuesday night as part of the National Night Out.

Over 150 residents and their children gathered at Healey Playground.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. All residents were encouraged to leave their front-porch lights on as a show of solidarity.

The night began with a motorcade from Dupont to the Duryea V.F.W. Post 1227on Stephenson Street. From there, a parade consisting of residents and their children, emergency vehicles and crime watch members took off.

WBRE-TV's Andy Mehalshick introduced various speakers, including State Sen. John Blake, State Rep. Mike Carroll and Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

Blake discussed how crime is a violation of human dignity.

"It's a violation of our mutual respect for one another," he said. "We have to count on professionals to protect us, but the message of tonight is how we can protect ourselves. Keep your lights on. Be your neighbor's keeper. Take care of your children. And be mindful. Train them and teach them the importance of protecting themselves and defending themselves against those that would prey on them."

Carroll applauded Duryea and Dupont for sharing the event.

"It's really important that we come together and form these partnerships because that's what community is all about," he said. "Partnerships, relationships, networking, having each others' backs. It enhances our quality of all our lives."

Events included a drug dog program with 19-month-old Bruizer, a police taser demonstration, tours of Pittston City's fire safety "smoke house" and a fire extinguisher demonstration.

But the highlight for many children was touring Geisinger's Life Flight medical helicopter.

Duryea Officer Sheri Salvo, who has been on the force for six years and her husband, an officer in Avoca, took a few of their children to the festivities.

"Anytime they see a police officer, they think that we're all friends," Salvo said. "And I want them to know that we are. And I wanted them meet some of the other officers." Dominick Salvo, 3, said he was having a good time and was looking forward to seeing the helicopter.

Jon Sudol and Michael Wojtach, both 7, loved the Life Flight helicopter and got badges. They were headed to the Smoke House next.

"That's our next stop," Sudol said.

Duryea Mayor Keith Moss said the police department has two full-time officers and 12 part-time officers.

He praised Duryea's Crime Watch.

"They're the eyes and ears of the police department," he said. Moss is also a member.

"We're here to heighten awareness and keep crime out of town."

The Dupont Crime Watch is only a year old and has 45 members.

"We just started, said Susan Gregory, the group's secretary. "It's a little bit small now, but we're trying to grow, trying to learn from other towns."

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