How to Raise Awareness About Crime? Paint Faces!

Face painting, balloons, pretzels and water ice aren’t usually words associated with crime, but last night in Center City they were.

National Night Out, in its 28th year, is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about crime and drug prevention. This year, representatives from local police districts and the Citizen’s Crime Commission set up shop in front of the Macy’s, the sponsor of the event, on Market Street to disseminate information about various crimes. The two-hour event offered residents pamphlets about crime topics and a chance to meet with police representatives – both of which were in the shadow of the much-more-appealing goodies offered at no cost.

Although the intentions are clearly in the right place, it’s hard to see the serious nature of the crimes that occur in the city on a daily basis while veiling it with Phillies Ball Girls and balloon animals.

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“People here today can take home information and sit out with their neighbors, put their lights on, show the people in the neighborhood that they’re all about fighting crime,” Capt. Brian Korn of the 6th District says. “Everyone who comes by here is at least going to know what National Night Out is and be aware of what we’re trying to do.”

But, it’s impossible not to step back and wonder, does this event even cross the minds of the criminals it’s meant to strike a nerve with? Or, does it just momentarily empower community members?

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Although the event is intended to “send a message to criminals, letting them know that the neighborhoods are organized and fighting back,” PhillyNow wonders how that message was delivered? Because it clearly skipped us.

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