INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a date circled on the calendar for neighbors and for police.
“Everybody knows it’s the first Tuesday in August every year,” Charles Tony Knight said. The Crown Hill Neighborhood Association board member has lived in the area since the late ‘80s.
On the first Tuesday of August, National Night Out events happened across the country, bringing neighbors and first responders together. In Indianapolis, dozens of events happened citywide, including in the Crown Hill neighborhood.
“This is one of my favorite nights of the year. It always has been, it always will be as long as I get the pleasure and honor of wearing this uniform,” IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said.
From families to seniors who live at the assisted living facility across the street, about a hundred people came out. IMPD, IFD and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett did, as well.
While the evening was filled with food on the grill, games, music and even a school supply giveaway, the event has a deeper meaning.
“If something happens in the neighborhood we will be able to talk to that person about what’s going on and try to prevent any negative,” Crown Hill neighbor, Karen Anderson said. She came out Tuesday night with her two great-granddaughters.
The focus is on bringing the community and first responders together — to start a conversation, build trust and encourage engagement.
“[We talk about] about our lives, about what’s happening, about what their concerns are and try to come up with solutions together,” Bailey said.
Over the past year, IMPD has credited several cases being solved with increased community cooperation. Bailey said that relationship starts at events like National Night Out.
“Our community having the ability to see us in a non-confrontational setting, in a positive setting, nothing bad has happened here, allows us to build those bridges of trust,” Bailey said.
The Crown Hill Neighborhood Association agrees and adds, that events like these also become a time to learn about community resources.
“The more you know about them and the more there’s more communication between residents and those willing to help the residents — we can improve the quality of life,” Knight said.
2022 marks IMPD’s 39th year participating in the nationwide event.
“We’re going to continue. We’re going to continue fighting the fight and reducing crime,” Mealsestep said.