Neighbors ready for Night Out Against Crime

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 5, 2001

Fourteen of Natchez’s neighborhoods will take part Tuesday evening in the city’s 18th annual Night Out Against Crime, banding together against crime in their areas.

Many neighborhoods will be hosting special events such as block parties, cookouts, visits from police and local officials, flashlight walks, contests, youth activities and anti-crime and drug rallies, according to the Natchez Police Department.

In most areas, activities will take place from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nationwide, close to 32 million people in more than 9,600 communities around the world are expected to participate in National Night Out.

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&uot;People are taking back their communities, saying crime won’t be tolerated,&uot;&160;said Officer Charles Woods, public relations officer for the Natchez Police Department.

For residents of the Temple Street area, the night’s main event will be a covered dish supper. But that is simply a catalyst to bring neighbors together to fight crime, said Marjorie Alexander, whose house will be the gathering spot for that neighborhood’s activities.

&uot;We actually want to see if our neighbors are interested in reorganizing our Neighborhood Watch group, which was one of the first ones in the area but isn’t active now,&uot;&160;Alexander said.

As in other participating neighborhoods, police and other local officials will visit the gathering to talk to residents about ways to fight crime.

&uot;I hope this gets people to take more of an interest in their personal property and their neighborhood as a whole,&uot; she said. &uot;I hope we can reeducate some of the new folks in the neighborhood and get them on our team.&uot;

Alexander said she would eventually like for the neighborhood to set up a system where neighbors would take turns watching a certain number of adjacent houses and reporting any suspicious activity.

In the Garden District, neighbors will meet at the home of John and Valerie Bergeron. Getting to know one’s neighbors through events like National Night Out makes neighborhoods safer, Valerie Bergeron said.

&uot;It’s a nice way to meet people, and it makes you more aware of the people in your neighborhood, instead of everyone being so isolated,&uot;&160;Bergeron said.