Arp’s light should shine year ’round

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nearly two weeks after climbing out of a swimming pool for his annual stunt, retired Vicksburg police officer Doug Arp’s decades-long message of bringing light to crime prevention is fresh in the minds of Vicksburg and Warren County residents.

Arp has been performing stunts – among them, living for a week in a trash receptacle, in a police car suspended in the air and in a water fountain at the mall — in preparation for the annual National Night Out Against Crime. On the Night Out, he travels to neighborhoods throughout Vicksburg and Warren County spreading a message of knowing neighbors and stopping crime.

Oftentimes, as soon as his stunt ends and the neighborhood barbecues are over, the message dies down.

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On Tuesday night, however, 15 residents of the Fostoria neighborhood, the residential area along Drummond, Harris and Cherry streets and Bowmar Avenue, met with police to form not only a neighborhood watch, but also agreed to meet more often to help prevent crime.

It should be the hope of this community that the Fostoria plan works. Safety in the community is paramount. If Fostoria’s plan works, other neighborhoods might adopt that success story.

Crime in neighborhoods — good neighborhoods filled with working-class citizens who want only to raise a family in safety — will never be solved without a community effort.

Certainly Arp is rooting for Fostoria. Once a year, he captures the imagination of Warren County with a bit of self-deprecating humor, a booming voice and a passion for stopping crime.

The more neighborhoods band together, the more successful Arp’s message.

As the season changes from this summer’s brutal heat to the winter chill, Arp will continue to get the word out about crime prevention, albeit not in a swimming pool or a hole in the ground.

Wayne Forrest, a member of the Fostoria Neighborhood Association, said in a Wednesday story in The Vicksburg Post: “I think this will be effective because we have a lot of neighbors who are concerned.”

It will be successful if the light shining on these crimes stays on and people work together, not just for one week a year when a passionate crimefighter knocks himself down a few rungs for a cause about which everyone should be concerned.

Sean P. Murphy is web editor. He can be reached at