Columbia neighborhoods host National Night Out
COLUMBIA - The National Night Out event took place Tuesday evening.
As stated on its 2016 flier, the "campaign promotes community involvement in crime prevention activities, police community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and sends a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back."
Within the past week, a total of three shootings occurred in the city of Columbia. Teenager Marquez D. Reed was killed from a shooting on July 27, a 22 year old was sent to the hospital with a gun shot wound on July 29 and a 19 year old was in the hospital from a gun shot wound on August 1.
Columbia's National Night Out took place in several different neighborhoods that registered online for the event.
KOMU 8 attended three of the events, and each had a different way of creating conversation.
One was located in the ballroom of the Columbia Country Club where Jeffrey Hempstead, the board secretary of the Columbia Neighborhood Watch, said he was not sure how this campaign would make a major difference but was hopeful. "Neighborhood cooperation leads to cooperation in other areas like reducing crime."
The other event was an ice cream social in a parking lot.
The largest event KOMU 8 visited was at Downtown Optimist Park. Several community outreach groups were there along with Ward One Council Member Clyde Ruffin. Police officers from the Community Outreach Unit were there making conversation with the locals including the little kids running around.
Columbia resident James Gray said he felt the event was helpful for the youth but a major target audience was missing. "If you look around and look at the people that's out here, there's a lot younger kids out here. We need to also figure out what could we do to get those 13 to 18 year old kids to come out."