HIGH POINT, NC -- Hundreds of Triad communities celebrated National Night Out Tuesday.
The goal is to build relationships between police and the community and fight crime together.
But the event took on extra meaning in one area of High Point, where violence has taken over.
A huge crowd attended the National Night Out event at Williams Memorial Church.
Children danced and played in the bounce house and even got to take a look inside one of the High Point Police Department’s SWAT trucks.
Former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis says it was a much needed break for a neighborhood devastated by recent violence.
“It's turned into an epidemic that we have to get control of how we have to do it soon,” said Davis.
The violence started last Monday when 35-year-old Alphonso Macer Jr. was murdered.
The next night, seven people were shot after a memorial in his honor.
Both crimes remain unsolved – leaving mothers like Valerie Rorie to worry.
“The younger generation is doing a lot of things nowadays,” said Rorie. “We need to open their eyes and let them see that there is more to life than death.”
With tensions growing, an event like National Night Out gives officers and neighbors a chance to come together face-to-face and talk.
Captain Tim Ellenberger with the High Point Police Department says the goal is not only to solve crime but also to build trust.
“You can't wait until you really need that relationship to try to build it,” said Ellenberger. “We have to build it ahead of time and keep nurturing those relationships as the year goes on.”
But neighbors know it's going to take more than just one night to really make a difference.
“We have got to make sure that 365 days out of the year that our neighbors are looking out for one another and we are taking care of one another,” said Davis. “If we don't, there won't be a safe place in the city."
Police say one of the best ways to keep the momentum of National Night Out going is through citizen policing programs.
On average, statistics show communities with neighborhood watch programs have a 16% less crime than neighborhoods without them.
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