- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and other city leaders took a swing at crime yesterday — with their softball bats.

The mayor gave up his traditional bow tie for a cap and T-shirt to help residents celebrate the 22nd annual National Night Out against crime.

The mayor batted leadoff and laced a solid single to right field as he and a team of other city officials and police officers took on a team of radio personalities.

It was all part of the fun at Simon Elementary School in Southeast, where dozens of kids played on a moon bounce and munched on grilled burgers and hot dogs.

“Residents and police and all of city government are working together to help reduce crime across the city,” Mr. Williams said.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and the city’s nonvoting representative in Congress, also was on hand to make a plea to Congress not to pass legislation that would weaken the city’s gun control laws.

“Don’t make things worse,” Mrs. Norton said.

National Night Out is observed in neighborhoods across the United States with local events designed to heighten awareness of crime and drug prevention and generate support for crime-fighting programs.

The evening also is designed to boost neighborhood spirit and community relationships with police. It is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.

More than 50 neighborhoods in Rockville were expected to participate last night, by hosting traditional block parties, carnival games and cookouts.

This year, officials marked National Night Out in Rockville by rolling out “Project Lifesaver” program. The program places unobtrusive radio frequency-emitting transmitters on the wrists of residents afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and disorders. The radio frequency helps police locate missing persons in an average recovery time of 22 minutes.

In Langley Park, residents and local officials began the evening with a “March for Peace” and ended the night with a candlelight vigil for crime victims.

As might be expected during a crime-fighting initiative, there was a heavy police presence at yesterday’s event in Southeast, with several dozen officers and several police vehicles, including a mobile command center and a disaster-response unit.

D.C. police and several other city agencies set up displays inside tents to give out information on auto theft prevention, drug abuse prevention programs, HIV/AIDS counseling and other services.

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