Topekans Celebrate Night Out Against Crime

By: 13 News Ariana Cohen, Carissa Fox Email
By: 13 News Ariana Cohen, Carissa Fox Email
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)_Kerry Nance has lived in Topeka all her life and she says having a safe neighborhood is important.

"I think that it's very important thing for the kids to have some place that they can be safe in and enjoy their time," says Nance.

That's what brings her and several of her neighbors to the Night Out Against Crime. The event is celebrated nationally and thousands of communities across America are standing up against crime; including 52 Topeka neighborhoods.

"Just kind of looking around and all the kids are here smiling and enjoying themselves," said Target Group Leader, Zachary Sapata.

Children enjoyed splashing their friends in the dunk tank, sliding into a mini pool, jumping in the bounce house, blowing bubbles, racing through the inflatable obstacle course, throwing a fast pitch, and getting their faces painted.

"It's good to have a safe neighborhood because you don't have to worry about a lot of stuff and you can just relax," said a young boy, Chance Corvin.

"It's excellent. I don't get to interact with the kids like I have today and I think its very important that they can trust law enforcement," said Shawnee County Deputy, Justin Sharpless.

Families united for this fun filled event to eat and drink have fun. Kerry Nance says its nights like this that help make neighborhoods safer year around.

"I hope it brings the neighborhoods together and helps them have a good united situation of where they can have fun together," says Nance.

Residents also say that they have noticed a drop in the crime rates.

National Night Out may have had tons of fun things for families to enjoy, but there is one major reason this event exists.

"Anytime we can get the neighbors to band together in the neighborhoods and then get the neighborhoods to band together with the city......people become more aware of crime prevention and looking out for their neighbors." says Police Chief Ron Miller.

The most important question many people want to know is if this event actually has an impact on crime.

"The crime rate is dropping. The reported crime rate is dropping. Now some people don't see that or feel that based on where they live, but as a city, the crime rate is dropping." stated Miller

Law enforcement isn't the only one who has seen the crime rates go down. Community members say they have seen a decrease as well.

"The residences have improved. We've gotten some of the undesirables out and that reduces crime. So just by getting people out at night so they know who is in their neighborhood and they know who belongs is a big huge improvement." said Janet Rice

To keep seeing those improvements, everybody needs to make an effort to help end crime.

"It is not just the police department, its not just the sheriff, it's everybody together that's going to stop it. It's going to take a village if you will." Rice explained

NNOAC celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.


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