Photo by Demetria McClenton
COVINGTON -- The Enclave at Gross Lake and the city of Porterdale will take part in the 28th annual National Night Out crime and drug prevention event on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Thousands of communities nationwide will participate simultaneously in the event, which last year involved 37 million people in 15,110 communities across the U.S.
The program is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness; generate support for local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police/community partnerships; and send a message to criminals, letting them know the neighborhood is organized and fighting back against crime.
The Newton County Sheriff's Office is urging all neighborhoods to participate in the event.
"National Night Out is a time to take a stand against crime. It's proven to be an effective, inexpensive and enjoyable program," said Public Information Officer Deputy Courtney Morrison. "It promotes community spirit, as well as police/community partnership."
The Enclave, which is comprised of more than 2,000 homes, condos and apartments and is located at 100 Gross Lake Parkway, will host the event from 7 to 9 p.m. The Enclave Homeowners Association is "Giving Crime & Drugs A Going Away Party," by sending a strong message that "We look out for one another in our community," according to a printed press release issued recently.
Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown, the NCSO C.H.A.M.P.S. team, along with available law enforcement officers from various divisions will be on hand for the event, as will representatives from the Newton County Fire Department, local educators and others. They will be offering safety tips and awareness and solution techniques for the community.
Porterdale Police Department Officer Veronica Williams Ramirez said the public is invited to the baseball field beside the Fire Department on Main Street in Porterdale from 6 to 8 p.m.
"Basically, it's a time for the community to interact, not only with law enforcement, but all branches of public safety," she said, adding that many times members of the public are frightened of law enforcement officials. "We want them to know what we do, ask any questions they may have and see our equipment. It's a time we can give them information and strengthen neighborhood spirit between police and citizens."
She said hot dogs would be served and representatives from all branches of public safety will participate in the event. Information will be distributed on recent laws that have taken effect and information will be available about gangs; firefighters with the Porterdale Fire Department and the Newton County Fire Department will give a demonstration of some of their equipment, such as a ladder truck or the Jaws of Life; and representatives from the Newton County Sheriff's Office Crime Scene Unit and Warrants Division, Probation and Parole, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Porterdale Explorers, and emergency medical personnel will be among those on hand.
"We want to send a message to criminals that we are educating our neighbors on how to watch out for crime and we're not going to tolerate criminal activity in our city and our citizens are going to help us," Ramirez said.
Morrison said any interested community or homeowners association can participate in the event by registering at www.nationalnightout.org or just by organizing their own event.
"If they register, they'll send them a kit and information on keeping the community safe, but any community can participate without registering," Morrison said. "Everybody just flips their lights on, comes out of their homes and walks around their neighborhood together."
Morrison said by the community coming out into the streets, they get to know one another.
"Once everybody is out and about, people are going to talk and get to know each other and that's what we want," she said. "We need for people to know their neighbor and to look out for each other."
Morrison said community liaison officers with the NCSO hope that participating in the event will spur communities to establish a Neighborhood Watch.
"We'll be more than happy to assist them with that by calling Deputy J. McCoy at 678-625-1400," Morrison said.