Block parties, safety demonstrations and a chance to meet local police, firefighters and first responders crop up in some two dozen shore communities and about 15,000 nationwide during the 30th annual National Night Out.

(Ocean County Police, Fire & EMS Facebook page)

The annual event on the first Tuesday of August began in 1984 as America's Night Out Against Crime, a response to troubling crime waves around the country. Families lit their porches after dark and visited neighbors in a strikingly visual effort to take back their streets.

It grew in scope and purpose under the aegis of the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch, which had been established three years prior.

Now, nonprofit organizations that address quality of life issues and foster community involvement routinely take part, along with police, firefighters and medical volunteers. Most include activities for children and many offer music and food.

The organization has also drawn corporate sponsorship. Communities that register receive organizational kits to help them create cohesive and meaningful events.

Ocean County townships and boroughs taking part in various degrees this year include Lakewood, Jackson, Beach Haven, Manchester, Tuckerton, Berkeley Township, Brick, Lakehurst and Long Beach.

Monmouth communities include Asbury Park, Howell, Manalapan, Long Branch, Red Bank, Aberdeen, Freehold, Englishtown, Neptune, Bradley Beach, Farmingdale, Sea Girt, Fair Haven, and Matawan.

Find out more about National Night Out at the National Association of Town Watch web site or visit the NATW Facebook page.