Neighbors get ready for Night Out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NATCHEZ — National Night Out will provide locals with a fun excuse to suggest, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” without feeling like they should put on a cardigan and sing songs with puppets.

Night Out is set for Aug. 3, and local law enforcement want to encourage every citizen to participate by gathering with their neighbors for a friendly meet and greet.

Law enforcement and local officials will be riding through town to say hello.

Whether neighbors attend a barbecue at someone’s house, gather at a nearby playground or sit outside, everyone can participate somehow, Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said.

Mayfield said communicating with neighbors cuts down on crime by increasing the number of eyes and ears watching over the block.

“Ordinarily neighbors may not know each other very well, and (Night Out) gives them an opportunity to get to know each other and trust each other,” Mayfield said.

He said some neighborhoods have highly organized Neighborhood Watch Programs and others do not, but getting to know who lives down the street will always help to increase personal security.

Mayfield said if someone was missing a lawnmower, for example, they could ask if an unfamiliar person was spotted hauling it from their house.

“It’s about taking care of each other. If neighbors go out of town they can watch out for them,” Mayfield said.

Getting to know neighbors also create a better awareness of what goes on in neighborhoods, which is a helpful communication tool for law enforcement, Mayfield said.

Mayfield said the ACSO staff will leave the office at 5:15 p.m. and ride around the county, stopping at neighborhoods with planned gatherings on their route. Some stops include Lower Woodville, Morgantown, and Kingston roads and Lewis Drive.

Natchez Police Department’s Capt. Daniel White said local officials from both sides of the river, along with staff from the NPD, Ferriday Police Department, Vidalia Police Department and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office will be parading down the streets of the Miss-Lou to promote and celebrate Night Out.

He said the caravan will set out for Ferriday at 4 p.m. and make several 15-minute stops before making it back to Old Washington Road.

White said National Night Out promotes neighborhood spirit, police partnership and raises awareness of drug prevention and crime..

“It sends a message to the neighborhoods that we’re fighting back,” White said.

White said when the caravan of blue flashing lights stop in neighborhoods, the crew of officials and police will get out of their cars to talk people and eat the food they are offered.

White said 37 million people participate in Night Out in 15,000 communities across the nation.

For those who do not plan to cook out or gather in the streets, White invites everyone to turn on their porch light to support the Night Out message.

The order of the stops is Ferriday, Vidalia, Glenwood, Lower Woodville Road, Creek Street, Village Green Apartments, Creek Bend Road, Oak Ridge Manor Apartments, B Street, Minor Street, Woodlawn Street, West Stiers Lane and the group will end up behind Central Alternative School, White said.

Those who would like the ACSO staff to stop by their neighborhoods Aug. 3 should call Captain Randy Freeman at 601-442-2752.