Tuesday is National Night Out, an annual event that's been held in neighborhoods in New Jersey and across the country for 36 years.

National Night Out founder and President Matt Peskin says the "get to know your neighbors and local law enforcement" event "evolved from sitting on the front porch and flipping on your front porch light to what is now block parties, cookouts, parades, festivals."

He says he never dreamed the event would mushroom the way it has over the decades.

"It was a struggle early on. It was a struggle to convince law enforcement agencies to get involved. It was a struggle to explain the concept," he said. "It gets stronger each year. It's really kind of amazing even to me ."

About 16,500 communities will take part Tuesday evening, including more than 500 in New Jersey. Peskin says residents and police just hang out together.

"There's no traffic citation, there's no medical emergency, there's no burglary. They're there just to meet each other," he said.

Peskin says in this TV binge-watching and home isolation age, it's more important than ever.

"If you think about it, grab your neighbors and have something on your street. Notify the local police department or sheriff's department; have them come by," he said. "Please get involved."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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