Community Wide Event Fights Crime With Fun

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Over 60 communities partnered with Safe Streets and took a stand against crime in the Topeka area.

From bounce houses and yard games to outdoor movies and live music, families fought criminal activity with fun.

At first glance, it may seem as if this year's National Night Out in Topeka was just one huge party filled with outdoor music, a spray park and free food.

"We are giving away free stuff like book bags, and bikes. We are happy the cops are here, the people are here and everyone is having a good time," said soon to be 4th grader Juel Ivory who participated in the East Topeka South neighborhood NNO event.

While fun for kids, families and the community, local law enforcement believes it adds another level of crime prevention.

"It helps in crime prevention because people are getting out to meet kids and their families. Now they will know each other and look out for each other and that helps deter crime," former Topeka Police Chief Ron Miller.

63 Topeka communities answered the call for this year's event, to stand up to crime in the community.

Director of Safe Streets, Kristi Pankratz said, "We have had such an overwhelming amount of support from the community and the partnership with law enforcement has been outstanding. They get to see the people and the people get to see them, it's a win-win."

Communities such as Berryton, Woodvalley and Sherwood expected over 400 people at each location, while the Samuel Jackson Park hosted an outdoor movie.

The event covered the Capital City from the north, south, east and west. A shuttle from the Topeka Metro was even needed for many public figures to make the rounds.

"We look forward to this every year. It helps put us on track to make sure Topeka will become one of the safest, if not the most safe capital city in America," said Topeka Fire Chief Greg Bailey