National Night Out: Bridging together police, communities

FAIRHILL (WPVI) -- Communities and police officers met in the streets Tuesday night to foster new friendships and open lines of communication, all in an effort to stop the violence.

17,000 communities across the country participated in National Night Out, an effort that brings residents out of their homes and onto their neighborhood blocks to meet and forge relationships with those who protect and serve them.

"We're trying to get a rapport with the police, which we do, we have a good understanding with the police. But now, we're reaching out of the younger kids," Steven Crawford of Fairhill said.

Crawford says while there are spurts in the neighborhood, it has gotten a lot better.

Homicides in the city jumped over the last couple of weeks, but overall violent crimes are down.

"There's no rhyme or reason, there's no one thing in the uptick we've had in the last week," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Police continue to do community policing in the midst of officer killings across the country that have gripped national headlines, spotlighting over the last month the relationship between residents and those in uniform.

"In this environment in our country, when we're having difficulties with communities and police relations, the good people in the community need to continue the dialogue, see each other and meet each other and see that they're real people," Mayor Jim Kenney said during a National Night Out event in Holmesburg.

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It was National Night Out in Philadelphia.

It was also a chance for residents to take a symbolic stance against crime on their streets.

"More so this year than ever with everything that's going on in the nation, it's to try to forge a better relationship between the police and the communities," Danielle Hall of the National Night Out program said.

"Tonight is an example for everyone to see that people want to get out there, mingle with the police, want to do what's good for their communities, and they want to collaborate and work together," Ross said.
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