R’land ‘Neighbor Night Out’ set for Oct. 12
RIDGELAND – Residents here will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with police officers and firefighters during the city’s “Neighbor Night Out” event in order to get better acquainted with first responders to enhance crime prevention efforts.
Lt. Sara Perkins of RPD said the nationwide movement started in 1984 in Philadelphia, Penn.
The local event serves as an annual community-building campaign that promotes partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer and more caring places to live.
RPD has hosted Neighborhood Night Out since 2013.
“It’s something that’s really important to us,” Perkins said. “I started with RPD in 2013 and I remember we started it because we realized we’re not in our neighborhoods as much as we want to be, and we really only see a lot of people when we’re out on a call. We wanted to be more involved in the community through meet and greets.”
Neighborhood Night Out begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. on Oct. 12.
Perkins said that during Neighborhood Night Out, RPD officers get to be face-to-face with Ridgeland residents and listen to things they are concerned about along with learning how the department operates.
“This way, we can put those concerns in our patrols,” she said. “The mayor and alderman also come out with us along with the fire department, and it’s a great time of fellowship with everyone coming together.”
Traditionally, neighbors turn their front porch lights on and gather in their yards to show solidarity against crime, and many Ridgeland neighborhoods have chosen to have a cookout or a covered dish block party.
Others plan to have the event catered and include drawings for prizes. Police officers, firefighters, and elected city officials will visit around Ridgeland.
Perkins said the feedback has been great over the last 10 years and there is always a large turnout.
“The neighborhoods come up with a meeting spot to do different things, and a lot of times they pick a house and put lawn chairs out front,” Perkins said. “Some neighborhoods have concerns they want officers to speak about, like people running stop signs. It’s really up to the neighborhoods on whether they want the officers to just mingle and visit or speak about certain things.”
RPD believes that relationships established during the event improve communication between citizens and officers, and better communication can assist the department in combating crime and provide opportunities for crime prevention education.
For any Ridgeland citizens or businesses interested in hosting an event, or neighborhoods that want to participate, contact Perkins at email@example.com or call 601-856-2121.