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For maybe the only time this year, York City officials are encouraging residents to throw parties to attract a police presence.

In observance of the 34th annual National Night Out, residents are being asked to work together to host block parties and cookouts  Aug. 1 to bring their neighbors together and foster better relationships in the community.

Throughout the evening, York City police, fire and emergency personnel  visit those parties — and hosting some of their own — across the city in order to “bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances,” according to a news release.

Law enforcement and emergency personnel also will  be available to answer any home security or general safety questions that residents might have.

“National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods a safer, better place to live,” the release states.

During last year’s National Night Out event in York City, 30 parties were thrown by local churches, agencies and neighbors, the release states.

Nearly a dozen police departments throughout York County also got in the National Night Out action last year.

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The York City Police Department is asking those who plan to host parties to register their events with the department’s Community Services Division. Those who register will receive a packet of information, including sample invitations, party suggestions and small giveaways, according to the release, and they will likely get a visit from an officer, firefighter or emergency medical technician.

Those who wish to close a city street or reserve a park for their National Night Out event must apply for a permit from the York City Public Works Department, which can be reached at 717-849-2245. More information on permit applications can be found here: York City Parks Reservation/Special Event Permit rules.

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