Opelika marches for change during National Night Out - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Opelika marches for change during National Night Out

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Hundreds marched in Opelika Tuesday, August 5, to take their city back, participating in the 31st Annual National Night Out.

"We had a 17 years old commit murder and we had a murder last year on the anniversary of this event and our children do not realize how valuable of an asset they are and they are contributing more of their time incarcerated than with education," says Assistant Coordinator for Opelika's Night Out, Oscar Penn.

The event's purpose is to heighten the awareness of crime and drug prevention.

Opelika is one of 10,000 communities across the nation taking part in the "Night Out." 

Participants say they will not tolerate these actions in their community and are here to lend a hand to those in need, especially young people.

"We're not marching against them; we're marching against the crime that is taking over them. We want them to know that we care and if we can help them in any way we are here," explains Mattie Clark, Coordinator for Opelika Night Out."

"We are here so criminals won't take over Opelika. We can change this place," says Opelika High School student, Natasha Malone.

National Night Out is also designed to promote and celebrate police-community partnerships.

Opelika police officers, as well as Lee County sheriff's deputies were on hand to encourage neighborhood watch groups and to make law enforcement officials a familiar and friendly face in the neighborhood.

"We are just so fortunate to have so many people that are concerned with the problems that we're having and these people are backing us up," says Opelika Police Chief, John McEachern, "Without their help we'd really be in worse shape than we are."

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