RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - National Night Out is just days away.
But the Richmond Police and Sheriff's Departments kicked off their efforts a little early.
Saturday representatives from both departments held an event at the Target on Forest Hill Ave.
The 26th annual National Night Out bands together law enforcement and residents to fight crime.
Last year more than 10,000 communities across the country participated.
This year, they'll be celebrating a going away party.
They're saying Goodbye to crime.
It's a message law enforcement wants criminals to hear loud and clear.
"This is our city," said Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody. "Not the crime and the bad guy's city. This is our city."
Richmond Police, Sheriff's Department and other First Responders started early Saturday -- getting residents fired up to take back their community Tuesday night.
They say crime prevention is a team effort and they need citizen help.
"Without the community we cant do our jobs," said Richmond Police Capt. Adrianne McLemore. "We need their commitment. We need them to help us to keep their communities safe."
Janel Butler and her family are members of their neighborhood watch group.
She brought her kids to the kick off event for a few very specific reasons.
"We thought it was a good thing for them to learn more about the community and the police officers and what they do around here and to get their fingerprints done in case they should wander off-which wouldn't be a surprise," she said.
Neighborhoods across the city have planned dozens of events.
From downtown to the Jeff Davis Corridor, residents will be out in full force August fourth.
National Night Out is celebrated across the country the first Tuesday in August every year.
"We are out and we are about and we are keeping an eye out for them," said Butler.
"National Night Out is a celebration of having all the communities come together so the criminals and the bad guys know out there that we mean business and this is our city and not their city," said Sheriff Woody.
Richmond police officers will come to local community events on Tuesday.
You can register your National Night Out party by clicking here.
You can also call 804-646-4395 for more information.