Even though it had a false start, Hinesville’s annual observance of National Night Out took place Friday evening on Central Avenue without the threat of rain that forced its rescheduling Aug. 2.
From 5-9 p.m. families circulated among table and tent displays to hear about what is happening in the community, learn about crime prevention and enjoy snacks.
Terri Liles, a licensed master social worker and coordinator for Helen’s Haven, distributed literature to parents warning about bullying, including cyberbullying. The children’s advocate also gave away pinwheels to little ones.
Police and fire department personnel and Liberty County Emergency Management representatives attended the free event. A local band, 3rd Class Citizens, provided blues rhythms during the first hour.
“We want people to come out and learn ways to fight crime,” said Maureen Mobley, code enforcement supervisor with the Hinesville Police Department and coordinator for this year’s National Night Out. “The city has been doing this since 2005, I think.”
Police Chief George Stagmeier echoed Mobley’s sentiment, noting that the event’s focus is to heighten crime- and drug-prevention awareness, generate support for local anticrime efforts and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
“I think every police department needs the community to get involved by reporting crime and just knowing what’s going on in their neighborhood,” Stagmeier said. “Hopefully, we can improve the quality of life. That’s our objective.”
Stagmeier, who said he’s lived in this area since he was 6 years old, described crime as somewhat relative, saying that some people will come to this area and say how calm and safe it is here compared with larger cities. Still, he said, he knows crime has increased in this community during the years, and people need to learn how to avoid becoming victims.
Hinesville resident Millie Wilson talked with booth attendants, including those selling wood crafts or providing healthy-lifestyle information.
“I’m getting updates on what’s happening in the community,” said Wilson, whose granddaughter, Tyena Ellis, 3, kept her busy. “I love National Night Out. I never miss it.”
Not all exhibits focused on crime prevention. There were plenty of food tables, and Jackie Boatright and her daughter, Jacquelyn Boatright, painted children’s faces.
Mobley said Night Out also included demonstrations by the Fort Stewart Directorate of Emergency Services, the Fort Stewart Game Warden’s Office and Karate DoJo of Hinesville.