Hattiesburg Celebrates National Night Out Against Crime - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Hattiesburg Celebrates National Night Out Against Crime

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The City of Hattiesburg joins cities across the nation to celebrate National Night Out Against Crime.

For 23 years, Hattiesburg has participated in National Night Out, and this year, 50 neighborhoods are involved.

Neighborhood Coordinator for the City of Hattiesburg, Maxine Coleman said each neighborhood hosts a party.  City and county officials and law enforcement make their way to each one throughout the evening.

She said it's an opportunity for fellowship and relationship building between neighbors.

"It's all about relationships," Coleman said.

She said National Night Out Against Crime parties like this one help both neighbors and local officials and law enforcement.

"The reason we do this is because it has proven to be effective in that relationship building, but it also has proven in forming those relationships with law enforcement so if there is something going on in that community, or in that neighborhood, the neighbors feel comfortable talking to law enforcement," Coleman said.

She said they would not be successful without participation from the local neighborhoods.

"We win because of what they do in their individual neighborhoods," Coleman said.  "It's a group effort and a partnership. That's what makes national night out work."

National night out kicked off this morning with local residents picking up free school supplies.

The city and county worked together to solicit sponsors and put together 400 bags that included paper, notebooks, pencils, crayons and more.

"It's not everything that they'll need for school, but there's a lot of the things that they need for school," Coleman said.

The 400 bags went fast.  The event was supposed to begin at 9 this morning, but city employees started handing them out when they arrived around 8. An hour and a half later, all 400 had been given away.

A Petal mom of three, Michelle Ball, was the last to get through the line.

"It's just a real big blessing," she said.  "Everybody's having a hard time with jobs and the economy right now."

Parents who picked up a bag of supplies were also asked to fill out a survey petitioning for a new playground for the city.

Mayor Johnny Dupree said if anyone else wants to fill out the survey, they can go to www.letsplay.com before September 27.

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