08/03/08 — Fremont prepares for National Night Out

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Fremont prepares for National Night Out

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 3, 2008 11:02 AM

FREMONT -- Ron Rawlings knows how many Wayne County residents perceive Fremont.

"For a long time, people have considered our town unsafe," he said.

But in the 18 months since he took over as police chief, Rawlings said he has noticed a real change.

So first time in seven years, he and other members of the town's Police Department will participate in National Night Out, an event that has been held annually in thousands of cities and towns across the United States to promote the local fight against crime, particularly the sale and use of illegal drugs.

"We're basically calling this a going-away party for crime," Rawlings said. "And it's about time."

The event, scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 5, on the 200 block of Main Street, will offer activities for children, live music, food and a chance for residents to dialogue with local officials.

But more importantly, at least to Rawlings, is the opportunity for neighbors to get to know one another.

"You should know your neighbors. It's a safe thing to do," he said.

"People need to know that if they see something going on, they can come to us. For a long time, you might see a crime being committed and never call -- out of fear."

But with its theme "Taking our streets back," the event, he hopes, will calm those fears.

Only then can law enforcement continue to make progress.

And only then, Rawlings said, will Fremont again be seen in the way he describes it -- a small town with a certain charm you could only find in Eastern North Carolina.

"It's time for our citizens to come out, relax, and enjoy this small-town atmosphere," he said. "That old atmosphere they had once before and that I believe they are starting to have again."