How well do you know your neighbors? Statistics show that the better folks know their neighbors, the less likely they are to turn away when they see suspicious activity and the more likely they are to speak out when a neighbor needs help.

Because of this, law officers and civic groups have joined together to create National Night Out, a nationwide anti-crime and anti-drug event to heighten awareness, strengthen support for anti-crime programs and improve neighborhood spirit and partnerships with law officers. Basically, it's a community party that helps introduce neighbor to neighbor and community members to the police who aim to serve and protect them.

National Night Out takes place on the second Tuesday of August in communities from all 50 states, the United States territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide, according to the website. (Texas marks the date in October.)

The event has taken on new importance this year as the headlines out of Dallas and across the country have left many wondering what happens next.

"You can sense that there is a different kind of energy with everything going on in the last month or so," Matt Peskin, executive director of the National Association of Town Watch, told NJ.com. He said many new municipalities have registered to partake in National Night Out for the first time this year. "Ninety-nine percent of us are law abiding, so this is a great way for cities and towns to come out and say, 'We support our local law enforcement.'"

Will you participate this year and help strengthen your own community?

This story was originally published in 2011 and has been updated with more recent information.