Communities come together for National Night Out

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Communities across central Indiana are gathering to fight crime as part of the National Night Out Tuesday.

National Night Out is an annual event, but this year, it takes on added importance in Indianapolis after a rash of violence across the city. City leaders are out in the community, putting out the call for residents to go out and show they won't tolerate criminals controlling their communities.

"I expect to see a lot of organized people, people kind of standing up, saying, 'Hey, this is our neighborhood. We want it to be safe and we're going to work together to make sure'," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

In Plainfield, police will go door-to-door to connect with people in the community. They'll ask residents what they're seeing in their neighborhoods, what their concerns are and what police can do to help make their neighborhood safer.

Police say they've seen an increase in Crime Watch signs in neighborhoods.

"Because of recent events in Indianapolis, I feel our residents are reaching out to us more, wanting to know how they can help us and they're giving us such great support," said Plainfield Police Capt. Jill Lees. "We recently had an incident in a neighborhood that required our Emergency Response Team and upon our agency leaving that neighborhood, I was already getting emails of 'Hey, we'd like to start a Crime Watch in this community.'"

Four officers will be in seven different Plainfield neighborhoods Tuesday evening.

In Lawrence, residents have tables set up in a cul-de-sac with blue tablecloths and signs that they took The Blue Pledge - a drive sponsored by Eyewitness News to call 911 if they spot illegal activity. The National Night Out event also has a dunk tank and bounce house for children.

On the northeast side of Indianapolis, members of the Royal Pines Neighborhood Association decided to strengthen their Crime Watch program after a few break-ins several years ago. Since then, neighbors have gotten to know each other by name and at even the smallest clue of something suspicious, they are not only calling each other, but also police.

That in itself has made people living in the neighborhood feel a lot safer.

"I want to raise my kids in a safe environment. If they are riding their bikes down the street, I want them to feel safe and the other neighbors to know who they are, as well," said Julie Dunn.

Dunn helped organize the neighborhood's National Night Out festivities, including a parade. She encourages you to do what her neighborhood has done - get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other.

Take The Blue Pledge