Lake Norman & Mooresville

A rally against crime

Every year, porch lights in neighborhoods across the country are lit in support of National Night Out, a campaign against crime.

This year, the 28th annual NNO, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, will be Aug. 2. The campaign's goal is to raise crime and drug prevention awareness and send a warning to criminals, with events sponsored by police departments.

More than 11,000 communities from across the country are expected to participate this year, and Mooresville is one of them. This will be the third town-wide National Night Out event.

"The crowd has grown immensely over the years," said Bernice Scott, the coordinator for the Mooresville Police Department and a main organizer of the event. "We started at 300 hot dogs and we're now up to 1,000 hot dogs."

The food count reflects the interest in National Night Out that has grown in the past few years. With the help of the Mooresville police and fire departments, along with the rescue squad and the Iredell County Sherriff's Office, the night is full of different activities to attract a large crowd.

The community watches in the Eastern Heights and Linwood Farms neighborhoods are particularly active and involved in National Night Out, said Mooresville Police Chief Carl Robbins.

Scott is expecting anywhere from 400 to 600 people this year.

"There'll be a lot of different things there to keep people busy," she said.

A color guard will open the evening at 5 p.m., when Mooresville residents are asked to turn on their porch lights, lock their doors, and join the community in fighting against crime and drug abuse.

There will be activities like a bounce house and a dunk tank, along with Zumba lessons and tae kwon do demonstrations. A DJ will entertain the crowd, and there will be plenty of gift bags, handouts and free hot dogs. Chick-fil-A and Coldstone Creamery will also have stands at the event. Target, the national corporate sponsor, is raffling off two bicycles. The Mooresville branch of Walmart is also sponsoring the event.

The night will conclude with a flashlight parade, in an effort to show unity for safety in the community. But instead of flashlights, the crowd will be provided glow sticks.

"Each person breaks their stick, hopefully at the same time, and we end (the evening) with a prayer," said Scott.

The event will be held in downtown Mooresville on North Main Street.

"(We want) to hopefully educate families to try and monitor their children closely to keep drugs away from them and give them alternatives," said Scott.