Harrisburg overcomes weekend’s violence with record-smashing attendance at National Night Out


A violent weekend in Harrisburg could have cast a shadow over the city’s second National Night out, but with a record-smashing 4,000 people in attendance — up 2,500 from last year — the event proved that the capitol city shines far too brightly to be counted out.

Last weekend was filled with bloodshed. One person died and five more were injured in six separate shootings.

“It’s always a tragedy. It’s always a time of mourning and sadness for the community, but it’s also a time to come together,” said Annie Hughes, Friends of Midtown president.

“It’s unfortunate that about 1 percent of the people in this city cause all the problems,” said Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter.

Those problems could have put a damper on Harrisburg’s massive turnout for National Night Out — an initiative that aims to humanize police and promote community partnerships — but instead, the capital city did what it does best.

“We’re friendly people. We are neighborly people. We come together. We share our ideals, and we talk to each other,” Carter said.

“What I love about Harrisburg is that people are so committed to the city. They want to see change, positive change,” Hughes said.

Carter said he sees this beauty in positivity, even when he’s forced to face down the ugly, but no matter the climate of the city, he doesn’t flinch.

“We should reach out, not because we faced violence this past weekend. We like reaching out to our youth the whole year around,” Carter said.

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