As children played, adults greeted each other and talked Saturday during the Belvedere Ridge Area Neighborhood Watch’s annual National Night Out.
The event was held at the softball field behind Belvedere Elementary School and included games, entertainment, inflatables, a scavenger hunt and a movie.
Representatives from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, Belvedere Fire Department, Point Protects, Bruster’s and Golden Harvest Food Bank were present.
“National Night Out is to bring the police and emergency personnel closer to the public so that we can get to know each other,” said Robbin Harmon, vice president of the Belvedere Ridge Area Neighborhood Watch. “As far as our neighborhood, it’s a chance to have a fun day and get to know each other as well.”
The neighborhood watch has been together for about six years, said Harmon.
“Our main purpose is to make sure that the criminals and the mischief-makers know that we’re watching and reporting,” she said. “We have a very active neighborhood watch.”
Sgt. Larry Schrade of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said that such events are opportunities to build relationships between law enforcement and the community.
“It allows us to interact with people a little bit more than we get to do on a normal basis,” he said. “Having the trust and the cooperation of the community is extremely important. We can’t do our job without folks in the community providing us with information, letting us know when things are not the way they should be, calling in tips.”
Schrade said that neighborhood watches and residents can play a critical role in law enforcement.
“If you see something in your neighborhood that doesn’t look right to you, it’s probably not right,” he said. “Residents know more about what should be going on in their neighborhood than we do because they live there. The best thing they can do if they see something that’s not right is to call us.”
The Belvedere Ridge Area Neighborhood Watch meets the fourth Tuesday of every other month at 7 p.m. at Bel-Ridge Baptist Church, 108 Monterey Ave. The next meeting will be held in September.