NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Neighborhoods are taking a stand against crime with Tuesday’s National Night Out.
The yearly event helps promote police-community partnerships. Click here to learn more about National Night Out.
There were plenty of local events taking place all across Middle Tennessee, and News 2 had crews in several of those communities.
PHOTOS: National Night Out in Nashville
In the Edgehill neighborhood, we spoke with Brenda Morrow, who heads the Edgehill Resident Association. She started their partnership with police years ago.
“Exactly what we did was residents came together to talk about what was wrong with the community, and what we saw was wrong was there was not enough police presence,” she explained.
Morrow said they took their issues to the police chief at the time and worked with them to find an answer.
“We were the first community to have officers on bikes, on horses; we were the first community to sign a public contract and commitment with the police and the community,” she said.
Edgehill now has monthly meetings with officers, who report about what’s going on. Residents also get the chance to have and one-on-ones with members of police force.
“I think our community here in Edgehill has the best relationship with their officers. So good that when we have residents that, when they find out an officer is single, they try to match them up and get them somebody because they want them to feel whole and well-rounded and safe in the community,” Morrow told News 2.
She noted that it’s not just about officers keeping the community safe, but the community keeping officers safe.
Chief Anderson says the department is trying to emulate Edgehill and the strong relationship its police officers have with its residents.
“We knew we were going to be welcome here, we knew we were going to be part of the community. We’ve been so welcomed the crime has decreased in this neighborhood,” said Metro police Chief Steve Anderson.
Mayor Megan Barry says that’s what National Night Out aims to do.
“When our first responders come out, our police officers, our firefighters, with our community, we get reminded that we can make a difference and that’s absolutely what we’re seeing tonight,” Barry told News 2.
At the Cayce Homes in East Nashville, officers handed out popcorn and water while getting to know the residents and their children.
News 2’s Jessica Jaglois got to speak with some of the most important people there–the children.
Officers let them sit inside their police cars, push buttons, play in a bouncy house, and the list goes on. One little even told News 2 he wants to be a police officer when he grows up.
Communities like the Cayce Homes are a focal point for Metro police after a rash of crime earlier this year in April and May where officers were hurt and residents were killed.
In Sylvan Park, families with kids of all ages came out to meet and greet with the police department and other law enforcement agencies.
Sgt. Mike Fisher told News 2 that when you can breakdown the barriers between children and police officers, that’s when you’re really succeeding.
“You’re really succeeding, I think when they come up and talk to us about something completely non-police related. When these kids want to come up and talk to us about their favorite superhero movie or their favorite sport or team, and it’s an actual conversation, you kind of feel like the uniform has gone away and there’s not any divide between the police or the community,” Fisher explained.
All of the events across Nashville included activities for kids, young adults, and parents on Tuesday.
National Night Out is also about residents meeting each other. From the Cayce Homes to Sylvan Park, everyone wants to live in a safe place.
“That’s the No. 1 crime prevention: if you know who’s supposed to be in your neighborhood and on your street then you know who’s not supposed to be and you can report that,” one resident said.
News 2 is committed to covering crime across Middle Tennessee. Visit wkrn.com/crimetracker for more coverage.