On August 5, 2014, Lexington will once again host the annual National Night Out event on Main Street. Standing up against criminal activity is a great way to support our community and the public servants who help keep our streets safe.
2014 marks the 31st anniversary of the event. This year the National Night Out campaign expects 16,124 different communities across the nation to participate.
Lexington started participating in the event in the early 1990s, says Lt. Shannon Sharpe of the Lexington Police Department. Since then, the event has grown to become one of the largest in the state and possibly the whole East Coast. There are approximately 4,000 to 6,000 Lexington community residents who attend this annual event.
The purpose of National Night Out is to heighten crime and drug awareness, generate support for anticrime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and encourage police-community partnerships. It is also designed to send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against criminal activity.
In 2012, Lexington Police Department ranked 14th in the nation for city populations of 15,000 – 49,999. In 2013, that ranking improved to 11th in the nation. This is a prestigious award and recognition for a national event in our area.
Currently, there are 13 different communities within Davidson County that have active criminal watch programs. Each of these programs has a block captain or several individuals who are responsible for providing handouts, flyers and other information about community crime fighting efforts.
Many might be aware of the “Lights On” campaign when homeowners turn on their outdoor lights after they turn their home lights off as a visual reminder that they support crime fighting efforts in their neighborhoods and community. This awareness campaign is ongoing and coincides with the National Night Out date.
As the local event has grown in size, so have the different activities during the observance. New this year will be a BB gun and bow and arrow area where visitors can test their skills. Plans are also in the works to arrange for an FBI unit to be on location with their Hostage Rescue Team. The celebration will also include many of the annual draws like karate demonstrations, DWI simulators, free hotdogs, bounce houses and much more.
Two stages located on Main Street will provide entertainment, thanks to event sponsors including Hayes Jewelers and BB&T. This year’s National Night Out takes place from 6 pm – 9 pm and streets will be shut down in preparation for the event beginning at 3 pm.
Captain Robby Rummage tells us, “This event is about a community coming together to interact with our public service officers as well as support the cause to stomp out crime.”
Although the National Night Out takes place one night each year, the ongoing effort to fight crime in our communities continues throughout the year. To find out more about how your neighborhood or community can get involved, contact your local police or sheriff’s departments in your community to learn more.