Fighting crime with parties

Neighborhoods around Cabarrus County celebrated a national event last week to raise awareness about preventing crime in their communities.

The annual National Night Out is a crime and drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. More than 36 million people from more than 15,000 communities across the country participated last year.

Magnolia Crossing, a Concord subdivision of homes built by Habitat for Humanity Cabarrus County, celebrated with its fourth annual National Night Out block party.

Kenya Jordan, who moved into her Magnolia Crossing home in 2008, is on the subdivision's neighborhood watch committee, which meets every other month.

She said many of the neighborhood kids used to live in areas where it was unsafe to play outside. Now they regularly play in their yards.

"I think parents feel safe letting them out," said Jordan.

Rosemarie Thompson has been involved in Concord's Kiser Woods neighborhood watch for about four years.

"We want to keep our neighborhood safe for everyone," she said.

The issues they deal with aren't usually serious, she said, but it's comforting knowing they have close contact with police.

Concord Police Sgt. Edie Moss said police provide training to watch groups, including tips on preventing crime and identifying suspects.

Working with those groups is part of the department's community policing efforts to create partnerships and encourage people to contact police with their concerns.

"If you don't think it's right, call us," said Moss.