National Association of Town Watch & National Night Out

What is NATW & NNO?

Once upon a time, we kept our porch lights on. We opened the door even if we didn’t know who rang the bell. And we could always leave the back door unlocked during the day.

National Association of Town Watch is the nation’s premiere non-profit crime prevention organization dedicated to the development and promotion of crime prevention in communities across the nation.

NATW is a network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and concerned citizens. Through that network, NATW was able to launch the annual National Night Out campaign.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Together, we are making that happen.

National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community and provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Neighborhoods across the nation host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other various community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel and exhibits.

Thank you to our neighbors and law enforcement across the nation.

million neighbors.
thousand communities.
cost of membership.
years of NNO.

History of NATW


March, 1981 | Founded.

NATW is the nation’s premiere non-profit crime prevention organization dedicated to the development and promotion of crime prevention in communities across the nation. National Association of Town Watch, founded by Matt A. Peskin, works with law enforcement officials and civilian leaders to keep volunteers informed, interested, involved and motivated.

The Newsletter.

National Association of Town Watch launched the first edition of their annual NewSpirit Newsletter later that year in November, 1981. The NewSpirit Newsletter enables NATW to connect with law enforcement agencies and community organizations across the nation to share news stories, important tips, suggestions, and more. Download the latest edition, here.


August, 1984 | National Night Out.

NATW’s Executive Director, Matt Peskin introduced National Night Out in 1984. The first National Night Out took place on Tuesday, August 7th, 1984. That first year, 2.5 million neighbors took part across 400 communities in 23 states.

What began as neighbors coming outside, locking their doors and turning their front porch lights on to meet one another became an annual community-building to make our neighborhoods a safer, better place to live.

The seed had been planted.

National Night Out now involves over 38.1 million people and 16,540 communities from all fifty states, U.S. Territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide.


National Night Out is only one night, what about the other 364 days in a year?

NATW launched project365 in August, 1993 to extend the efforts of building police-community partnership and neighborhood camaraderie beyond National Night Out. The yearlong program provides neighbors an opportunity to work together with the assistance of law enforcement to build a safer neighborhood. The program encourages local communities to work together towards a common goal over the next 365 days.


July, 2014 | Dog Walker Watch: A Crime Awareness Program Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.

National Association of Town Watch introduced the Dog Walker Watch Awareness Program to encourage dog walkers nationwide to serve as “extra eyes and ears” for local law enforcement agencies in their ongoing crime prevention efforts.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of neighbors out in the community at all times of the day, all days of the week, in all weather conditions.

A cohesive effort between police and the community provides an opportunity to train individuals how to effectively observe and report criminal activity.

What is National Night Out?

Interested? Start a National Night Out™ Today!