Rock Hill, York ready for National Night Out events

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comAugust 5, 2013 

T-shirts, school supplies and a life-sized bloodhound mascot renowned for taking a bite out of crime will be on tap Tuesday night as police and neighbors join together to take their own bite out of drugs and violence.

Starting at 6 p.m., nearly 30 police officers will converge on 30 Rock Hill neighborhoods, distributing free give-aways and hopefully building relationships with neighbors who will trust police to resolve their issues, said Rock Hill Police Lt. Jim Grayson.

And, they’ll do it all while grilling burgers, eating ice cream and sliding down water slides during National Night Out.

National Night Out, a nationwide campaign sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch entering its 30th year, gives residents and police an opportunity to host cookouts, contests and festivals while taking a vigilant stand against crime, drugs and violence.

In Rock Hill, caravans of police cars and fire trucks will make stops in five areas, including the South Central, Flint Hill and College Downs neighborhoods south of City Hall. McGruff the Crime Dog, known to pose for pictures and hug eager children, will join them.

‘Bridge the gap’

For Rock Hill police, the goal is to “bridge the gap between the community and police,” Grayson said, and bring police to the neighborhood “in a good way.”

One of those neighborhoods will include Market Place apartments off Heckle Boulevard, where police documented 35 reported crimes so far this year within 500 feet of the complex.

Since she became apartment manager, Martha Bratton said she’s worked to change the area’s reputation. The people who live at Market Place – school-age children, parents and the elderly – are not the source of the issues.

“It’s the company that they keep,” she said.

To push out the unwanted guests, Bratton said apartment management has started placing troublemakers on trespass and banning them from the property.

The gathering at Market Place, with hot dogs, hamburgers and music, will start at 5 p.m. and last until 8 p.m.

“It’s just been an amazing event,” she said. “We seem to grow every year.”

In York, neighbors will be able to tour the police department, feast on shaved ice and cotton candy and “dunk-a-cop” in a dunking booth on Roosevelt Street during the York Police Department’s second-year taking part in the nationwide event.

The festivities start at 7 p.m. and will last until 9 p.m.

Police decided to centralize the location this year after some groups fought over resources, and others might have mistaken the picnics on church lawns as purely church events, said York Police Chief Andy Robinson.

This year, he said, police want to make sure everyone is included.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

The Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service