COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The south central Hilltop neighborhood celebrated its 11th National Night Out neighborhood festival. Celebrating with them were the men and woman from Columbus Police and Columbus fire.
Their presence was a show of unity that is important to keeping these streets crime-free.
You can call it an old-fashioned street party, complete with dancing and hot dogs.
But something more happened here on South Ogden Avenue. Tonight, neighbors met their neighbors during National Night Out.
Coordinator Lisa Boggs is with South Central Hilltop Block Watch. She said she was expecting over 1,000 people to show up as the night progressed.
Columbus Police mingled with the crowd, and even the K-9 unit got some love.
National Night Out celebrates the police-community partnerships critical to fighting crime.
In the Hilltop alone, there have been three homicides, 50 robberies and 24 aggravated assaults in the last 60days.
Officer Brian Newsome is the liaison officer for the 19th precinct.
He says events like this help instill trust, not fear in police–a relationship that’s been tested after several high-profile police involved shootings nationwide.
“It gives us the opportunity to come out and actually meet with the public,” she said. “The public that we serve and let them know that we are here for them just like we need them to support us.”
Lisa Boggs says tonight’s National Night Out even was the biggest ever, a sign that people living in the Hilltop want to do so without fear and threat of crime.
“I want to give crime and drugs a going-away party,” she said. “We are trying to make a better community, especially for us older folks to grow old in.”
National Night Out is celebrated by 38,000,000 neighbors in 16,000 communities, and can be found in all 50 states and Canada.
Earlier this year, Columbus Police helped several community forums to hear how they could better serve the community.