Crime prevention and elder safety were the focus of Germantown’s National Night Out celebration Tuesday at Waters Landing community center — next to the Churchill Senior Living Center, where a serial rapist reportedly attacked an 86-year-old woman in 2010.
"Obviously, with what happened last year, it's nice to see all of the support from Montgomery County Police to promote awareness and safety," said Matt Parreco, the manager of the Churchill Senior Living Center. "We obviously don't want anything like that to happen again anywhere in the community, and it's nice to see the community coming together."
National Night Out celebrations took place all over the country Tuesday night. But in Germantown, the 28-year-old nationwide program designed to reduce crime in neighborhoods and encourage community involvement was especially personal.
Multiple reported attacks and have plagued the community over the past year. The fact that no arrests have been made and the suspect remains at-large has left some residents concerned.
Parreco said he was encouraged by the partnership between the community and the police. Marcus Dixon, Community Services Officer from Montgomery County's 5th District in Germantown, was one of the driving forces behind Tuesday’s program.
"The police can't do their job without the community support," Dixon said. "It's definitely a partnership. Being that we're the largest district with the least amount of officers, it's that much more important that we all work together."
Pam Czarick, General Manager of the Waters Landing Association, said that in the months following the attacks more lighting had been added to the common areas and said that the owners of the center had gone to great lengths to protect its residents.
She said that her parents live at Churchill.
"We can't expect [the police] to do it all,” Czarick said. “I'm trying to reach out to all the communities in the area to spread awareness about the importance of working together, being aware of your surroundings, noticing strange cars, reporting suspicious activity. Just doing your part to keep people safe."
Fifth District Cmd. Luther Reynolds said Tuesday that he wanted to reassure residents that he and his team were still confident they would find the suspect of the Germantown attacks.
"Tonight's about a lot of different partners coming together for a common goal,” Reynolds said. “There are still a lot of challenges and ongoing opportunities, and the attacks are still very fresh in people's minds. But it's great to look around and see everyone here tonight showing unity and partnership."