RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Tonight is National Night Out -- an event focused on crime and drug use prevention.
People are working together to send a strong message to criminals -- and that message is -- don't come into our neighborhood.
It's expected that 35 million people all across America will participate in national night out.
Tonight, neighborhoods all throughout our viewing area are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the "26th Annual National Night Out" crime and drug use prevention event.
National night out is sponsored by the national association of town watch--and target--which is the national corporate sponser.
More than 11--thousand communities from all 50 states will participate in this year's event.
Residents are encouraged to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police
Law enforcement officials in Richmond have already starting celebrating this event.
They hosted a big kick-off party over the weekend -- just to let people know exactly what national night out is all about.
"This is our city. Not the crime and the bad guy's city. This is our city," said Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody.
"Without the community we cant do our jobs," said Capt. Adrianne McLemoreRichmond Police Department. "We need their commitment. We need them to help us to keep their communities safe."
If you live in Hanover County or the Ashland area -- at least four dozen neighborhoods are participating in national night out.
There's a big kickoff this morning starting at 11 a.m. at the Target store on Bell Creek Road.
National night out is celebrated across the country the first Tuesday in August every year. This year's specific theme is "giving crime a going away party."