JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mary Williams and her friends have lived in Jackson's Lake Hico community since the 1970s.
"We're not going anywhere," said Williams. "We're going to be here."
And they want to make sure the neighborhood is safe for their children and grandchildren.
"I think it's important in today's society where people are going in so many directions with so much happening as far as crime and drugs are concerned, that we need to be on the lookout for each other," said Williams.
That's what prompted the Lake Hico Homeowner's Association to start up again several years ago. Williams is the secretary.
And Tuesday morning, she and her neighbors were gearing up for the evening's National Night Out Against Crime.
The event, founded in 1984, is designed to bring neighbors together and create stronger communities.
This year, there are about 65 events in Jackson alone.
Deputy Chief Tyrone Lewis, head of the Jackson Police Department's Community Services Division, said he plans to attend each of them.
"The key right now is education and being proactive, instead of reactive," said Lewis. "And that's why we encourage homeowners to get involved in their neighborhood associations and invite out to share information with them, to combat things before they happen."
Police said crime has dramatically decreased in the Lake Hico area since the neighborhood association started up.
But there are still signs of crime, such as graffiti in the middle of the street, saying "Gangsta (expletive)." But neighbors worked Tuesday morning to clean it up.
"As far as what we experience, it's all over Jackson. But we have to put ourselves in the position and frame of mind of becoming involved," said Williams.
Lewis said that's what it takes to curb crime.
"As a police department, we can't do it by ourselves. We have to have that connection with the community," said Lewis.
Lewis said National Night Out Against Crime helps create awareness about crime prevention and gives police a chance to reach out to individual neighborhoods.
If you would like to start a neighborhood association in Jackson, call the Jackson Police Community Services Division at (601) 960-0495.
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