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Tasty tubs of Neapolitan and chocolate chip ice cream helped feed as well as forge neighborly bonds during at least one National Night Out celebration held in Milpitas last Thursday night.

"It was like a potluck ice cream social," said Erik Larsen, a co-host of a block party at Sandalwood Park near Escuela Parkway.

Larsen, a Milpitas resident since 2002 who helped organize the anti-crime event with resident Bill Ferguson, said the party allowed him to get to know others.

"It was a way to kind of reconnect with neighbors," he said, adding about 20 people attended.

Milpitas Police Department reported 27 residential parties some involving ice cream, others involving barbecues and assorted foods were held around town this year involving about 1,000 people.

Called "America's Night Out Against Crime," the annual National Night Out event last week asked neighborhoods across the city and country to take a stand against crime and drugs.

Over the past nine years, Milpitas residents have used National Night Out as a tool to initiate local Neighborhood Watch groups or get reacquainted with their neighbors.

Police, city officials and McGruff the Crime Dog visited many of the parties, handing out crime prevention literature and Neighborhood Watch information.

According to Larsen, the hour and a half Sandalwood Park party drew a Milpitas police officer and police volunteers who handed out information about things like identity theft and residential burglaries.


"The officer gave us a really good story on how to prevent a burglary," Larsen said.

Besides advocating for installing deadbolts on doors, the officer recommended people go out and buy a big pair of construction worker boots the larger the size the better.

"He suggested that we take it and put it outside our front door and it tells them that somebody is at home," Larson said. "Somebody big."

Milpitas residents interested in hosting a National Night Out neighborhood party next year can contact Officer Kevin Jackson at 586-2528 or Officer Gene Smith at 586-2526 at the Milpitas Police Department's Community Relations Unit.