Hattiesburg hosts kickoff to Night Out Against Crime

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg and Forrest County hosted the kickoff to the National Night Out Against Crime Thursday at the C.E. Roy Community Center.

The event featured music, food and activities.

Mayor Toby Barker said it's the event that brings the community together with the men and women who protect them.

"It's a time where we show appreciation for law enforcement a time that we celebrate the relationship that our neighborhoods have with law enforcement," Barker said.

Mayor Barker said the community is key to fighting crime.

"It's so important for neighbors to look out for each other," Barker said. "It's so important that they communicate with police when they know there's an issue going on."

Captain Branden McLemore with the Hattiesburg Police Department agreed.

"We can't do anything for the public without the community's help," McLemore said.

He said having a good relationship helps keep crime down in the city.

"We're basically on a downstroke, we did a crime stat last month and we were at 1 percent decrease." McLemore said.

Mayor Barker said there is always room for improvement, but he wants the relationship between police and the community to strengthen.

"The city of Hattiesburg is going to have its issue, but if we can create that dialogue between police and our neighborhoods and every part of the city, we're going to make a safer city," Mayor Barker said.