Organizers hope Tuesday’s events at Bolton will help combat that town’s ongoing problems with crime.
Tuesday is the National Night Out. Across the country, from 7-10 p.m., events will be held encouraging people to turn on front porch lights, get to know their neighbors, and build bridges with law enforcement to combat crime and drugs.
Police Chief Ed Gillim said the event is being sponsored locally as part of the town’s continuing community outreach efforts.
“We have to have partnerships with our residents to be able to fight crime,” he said. “We want people to know they can trust us, but we have to have information. By getting to know each other and the department, we can work together to make Bolton a better place.”
Now in its 31st year, National Night Out is being celebrated in thousands of US towns and cities, as well as military bases and in Canada. The event is coordinated by the National Association of Town watch, a non-profit dedicated to safer neighborhoods.
Gillim said National Night Out is designed to heighten crime- and drug prevention-awareness; generate support for local anti-crime efforts; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Neighborhoods throughout Bolton will be hosting a variety of special events, and residents are encouraged to hold their own events, such as block parties, cookouts, parades, visits from police, flashlight walks, contests, youth activities and anticrime rallies.
The theme this year is “Give crime a going away party.”
“This is also a good night to get to know your neighbors, community officials, local companies, and law enforcement personnel,” Gillim said. “Sheriff Lewis Hatcher, Red Cross representative Sheila Johnson, Families First, Columbus County Emergency Services, and Dr. Randolph Keaton from Men and Women for Youth and Families will all be present.”
Events will be held at the Youth and Senior Center beside town hall, as well as in neighborhoods throughout the town. All events are free.
“Bolton has had a crime problem, a serious problem, for a long time,” Gillim said. “There are a lot of reasons for this, but if we work together, we can change the image of the town as well as making it an even better place to live.
“Bolton is already like a family. We want to make that family stronger.”