Proclamation 5845—National Neighborhood Crime Watch Day, 1988
By the President of the United States of America
Last year, crime left its mark on one in four American homes, a sobering reminder that, despite recent heartening progress against criminals and the causes of crime, particularly drug abuse, much remains to be done to ensure for ourselves and our children the safety of our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities. It is an unfortunate fact that the scourge of crime continues to occupy the head of the list of national problems crying out for immediate action.
Those who have experienced the pain, the loss, the sense of violation and frustration that accompany crime know that defeating it requires more than tougher laws and surer punishments—though tougher and surer they are. Truly effective law enforcement demands our reliance on one of our great historical strengths as a Nation: the willingness of our people to band freely together, in local communities, in defense of lives, homes, and property.
Local crime watch committees, in cooperation with law enforcement officers and the appropriate government agencies, can make a real difference in crime rates. As McGruff the anti-crime dog, the familiar national symbol of crime prevention, would put it: They take a bite out of crime. But the benefits of such citizen groups do not stop there: Their work teaches children respect for law, reinforces community values, and encourages the kind of individual responsibility that makes for healthy, creative neighborhoods peopled by safer and happier citizens.
The growth of these committees is truly encouraging. Today over 19 million Americans participate in neighborhood watch programs, keeping an eye out for crime near their homes, reporting suspicious activity to the police, and providing escorts to elderly or vulnerable citizens.
And for the last several years, millions of Americans have joined in the highly visible "National Night Out," an evening sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch in which families spend the period from 8 o'clock to 9 o'clock p.m. on their front porch or lawn as a way of saying to potential criminal predators: "You had better think twice, because in this community neighbors look out for each other." This worthwhile event has been extended this year to 10 o'clock.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 294, has designated August 9, 1988, as "National Neighborhood Crime Watch Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim August 9, 1988, as National Neighborhood Crime Watch Day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.
Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 10.
Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5845—National Neighborhood Crime Watch Day, 1988 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255004