The Lincolnton Police Department was out in full force again Tuesday night, but its members’ goal was to protest crime rather than fight it.
Participating in the 31st annual National Night Out, members of the police department, City Council members, the mayor and district attorneys and community residents gathered at 13 different block party locations in an effort to combat crime before it starts, by demonstrating a strong and unified front. Oak Street, Pine Street, both the Republican and Democratic headquarters, the Farmers market, Deaton Avenue and Crestview were just some of the locations hosting the block parties. From 6-9 p.m., neighbors and law enforcement came together to put an end to neighborhood crime.
“It’s an opportunity for the community and the police to come together,” said Lt. Matt Painter of the Lincolnton Police Department and coordinator for Lincolnton’s National Night Out events. “(We) work together to show the criminal element of the neighborhoods that we’re not going to stand for their activity any further. It’s an opportunity for the neighbors to come out and come together and meet each other, to show the bad element that they’re not afraid to come out.”
The National Night Out campaign provides the community with an opportunity to meet local police and civic leaders, like City Council members and department heads within the city.
“It also gives neighbors a chance to meet neighbors,” Painter said. “You get new people moving in and it gives a chance for everyone to see who actually lives in their neighborhood and talk and open up a discussion.”
The nationwide event takes place on the first Tuesday of every August with the exception of Texas, which holds their Night Out on the first Tuesday of October. Over 37 million people and 16,124 communities within the United States, Canada and military bases across the globe participate in National Night Out. In addition to the summer barbecue atmosphere, activities during the events include safety demonstrations, goodie bags for children and t-shirts.
“We have a good time,” Painter said.
It’s a good time for a good cause.