RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Citizens across the country and residents right here in Central Virginia are taking back their communities. National Night Out is when police and residents come together to tell criminals they're not welcome!
After a recent rash of crimes in which several store employees have been shot up and down Jeff Davis Highway, Tuesday's National Night Out events are even more significant. They're part of an ongoing effort to clean up the neighborhood and kick out the criminals.
The blue flashing lights of police cars are not an uncommon site along the Jeff Davis Corridor. But on National Night Out, those lights are welcome. They're part of a "going away party" for crime.
"That's the thing about community policing. It really allows people to meet each other when there's nothing wrong. As police officers we don't typically get invited to birthday parties and bat mitzvahs, but when we do get to meet people on this level it's a great opportunity," said Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood.
Patricia Morse has lived along Jeff Davis for decades and seen some terrible things, including the recent shootings in which one store clerk was killed. Morse says this opportunity couldn't come at a better time.
"With all the crime and the things that are going on in the community right now, to have the police see that we support our community as one, and to have the police support us as one is very important," she said.
Chief Norwood toured the city Tuesday. He says citizens from the Northside to Jeff Davis Highway want the same thing: a future when they can walk down the street and not be afraid.
Residents hope the greater police visibility will not only make them feel safer, but send the criminals this message.
"If you have it on your mind to be a criminal, to come into this area and perform some type of crime, you're in the wrong place because we're united here and our police protect us," said Morse.