AIKEN --- South Meadows subdivision in Aiken took on a carnival-like atmosphere Tuesday night as neighbors and local law enforcement turned out for Aiken County's first National Night Out.
National Night Out is a community watch event between neighborhoods and law enforcement that occurs every year throughout the country. Its purpose is to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
"Mainly it's for neighbors to get out and meet each other," said Sgt. Steve Deibel with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. "It's an opportunity for law enforcement to build bridges with the community."
Children wearing plastic red firefighter hats scampered along in the subdivision, eager to sit in one of the fire trucks or police cars that lined the road. Others splashed around in the community pool as the sound of a siren from a nearby fire truck could be heard.
Parents kept an eye on their children while eating hot dogs from the grill and talking to their neighbors.
The event was organized by the sheriff's office and the South Meadows Neighborhood Association. The New Ellenton Fire Department, the Aiken County Fire Department, Aiken Public Safety, the sheriff's office special operations unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were represented.
"Neighborhoods are a big part of how we solve crime," Sgt. Deibel said. "They help us do our job better."
Kim Tuemler, who's in charge of the subdivision's neighborhood watch, said the South Meadows subdivision just off Whiskey Road is a family-friendly neighborhood with a mix of retirees and young families.
"It's a relatively safe neighborhood, but we want to keep it safe," she said.
Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or firstname.lastname@example.org.