Laurinburg's National Night out was called off because of rain.
While it may have deterred criminals, “America’s Night Out Against Crime” was no match for bad weather. Laurinburg's National Night Out, planned for Tuesday night, was cancelled due to rain.
The event’s organizers expected an increase in turnout for National Night Out, held nationwide on Aug. 7, until intermittent rain throughout Tuesday afternoon and a forecast of 100 percent precipitation on Tuesday evening led them to cancel. The event was originally scheduled from 6-8 p.m.
“I was really looking forward to it,” said Lt. Rodney Strickland of the Laurinburg Police Department. “I thought we were going to have a really good turnout this year, but the rain put a damper on it.”
National Night Out is held annually, sponsored nationwide by the National Association of Town Watch and co-sponsored in Laurinburg by the Laurinburg Police Department. The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, Laurinburg Fire Department, and other public safety officials were also scheduled to participate.
The event takes the form of a block party on Main Street, with the road blocked off from Church Street to Railroad Street.
National Night Out is designed to heighten public awareness of crime and drugs, encouraging them to join crime prevention efforts and neighborhood watch groups. In addition, exhibits such as Fatal Vision Goggles and the “Seat Belt Convincer,” which simulate the experiences of driving while intoxicated and a head-on automobile collision, demonstrate the importance of safe driving.
National Night Out also gives the public an opportunity to interact with law enforcement officers in a stress-free situation
“When most people interact with law enforcement it is in a crisis situation,” said Laurinburg Police Chief Johnny Evans at last year’s event. “This way officers can mingle with the public, and community members can get to know law enforcement in return. It’s a good opportunity to meet and see your local police officers.”
Laurinburg began celebrating National Night Out about six years ago, beginning with 50 people in Market Park and moving to Main Street in 2008. Last year’s event attracted over 400 people.
While National Night Out 2012 will not be rescheduled, plans for the 2013 event will go forward as usual.
“We’ll just carry on next year,” said Strickland.