Safety an emphasis ahead of Kinston Christmas Parade

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – Christmas is supposed to be a time of happiness, not a time of fear.

However, it was exactly that at the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade when a pickup truck drove, hit, and killed 11-year-old Hailey Brooks.

The tragic incident has raised safety concerns for other Christmas parades happening, including in Kinston.

“We’re doing everything we can to let people know if they can’t behave, they need to stay home,” said Leon Steele, Downtown Kinston Revitalization Director.

Saturday, Kinston will hold its annual Christmas parade downtown, however, things will be different this year.

For instance, all vehicles in the parade must have updated insurance and inspection stickers. The city also urges people not to go into the street at any point during the parade.

Safety is now heavily at the forefront more than ever and Steele said law enforcement understands that.

“We also have a lot of police in the department who are in the parade, on the ground, in uniform, not in uniform,” Steele said. “Who are aware that safety is a real issue.”

Four shootings have happened in Kinston over the past three days with one being deadly, which may scare some away from the parade.

However, Kinston Mayor Don Hardy said residents shouldn’t worry because they are well protected.

“The incidents that have occurred here in the past were isolated incidents,” Hardy said. “This is probably going to be one of the safest places you can be.”

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