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'Night Out' helps connect Bridle Trails neighborhood
By ERIK SKOPIL
Two years ago Tom Eng and his neighbors saw a problem in their community. A number of Eng's Bridle Trails' neighbors had been burglarized and he noticed the growing worry. After meeting with the Bellevue Police Department, he and fellow community members decided to found a community watch committee.
Two years later the watch committee hosted its second annual Night Out event on July 12, drawing 400 to 500 Bridle Trail's resident to enjoy food, a crime prevention discussion and each other's company.
Before the night was over Eng asked those in attendance to make a simple pledge: invite a neighbor they've never met over for a meal.
"The intention is to build a more connected community in Bridle Trails. Not just in times of crisis," Eng said.
Before Eng founded the committee in 2010, their were only a handful of community watch groups in the area, now he proudly states their are 55.
Bellevue Police Detective Richar Chinn, who acts liaison between the committee and the police, gave the crowd tips on crime prevention. Chinn focused on the importance of itemizing personal belongings of value and securing your home.
"Some people think that their fighting crime by themselves." Chinn said. "This shows them that they're not by themselves, that they can do something if they get together and work as a team."
Thirty-five businesses donated money or services for the event-- a total of $2000. Sports Authority supplied free tune-ups for children's bicycles and Eastside Mssage Clinic who offered free massages.
Eng doesn't know how many business owners are part of watch groups, but believes they saw this as a great opportunity to support the local community.