BRIDGEPORT — Take a bite out of crime, and maybe a hot dog, too.
The summer's first anti-crime "Smoke Out" is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Friday at 32nd Place and Carpenter Avenue.
Hosted by the Bridgeport Citizens Group, the community barbecues are designed to boost civic involvement, particularly when it comes to helping police fight neighborhood crime.
The group chose the intersection of 32nd and Carpenter for the barbecue because it's been labeled a gang "hot spot" by the Chicago Police Department.
"We've been able to educate those neighbors about how they can get involved to be part of the solution and to let them know they do have support from others in the area who don't like what might be going on in the area either," Barnett said.
Friday's event is potluck style, so party-goers are encouraged to bring their own food for grilling and side dishes and dessert. Alcohol is off-limits.
Past smoke outs have drawn anywhere from 40 to 80 neighbors.
The citizens group was founded in 2011 and has grown to some 220 residents. Barnett and her husband, artist Dan Pugh, are a constant presence at monthly CAPS meetings for Beats 913 and 915, which encompass Bridgeport.
One of their constant refrains is to get neighbors involved in the safety of their community, so the barbecues dovetail with their philosophy.
If and when the bad guys show up near the party, "we do not accost anyone directly," Barnett said.
"We just make a show of the positive aspects of the community coming together around the fellowship of a barbecue."