Residents prepare for National Night Out, see difference it makes in neighborhoods


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) —  Police in Northeast Kansas are continuing to try and build better relationships with the citizens they serve as part of the annual ‘National Night Out’. This event also unites communities on ways to protect their community from crime.

Nearly eighty neighborhoods in Shawnee County are participating in national night out to not only bring communities together, but promote safety.

“We just want people to get together, have a good time. local law enforcement is involved with these events,” Kristi Pankratz, Director of Safe Streets said. “They come out they participate and get involved. So we really want to connect people to each other and local law enforcement.”

Kristi Pankratz Director of Safe Streets says with the recent strain between law enforcement and citizens in America, creating a bond with police can build trust and security throughout any community.
“The hope is that you know who your neighbor is. you know, who is supposed to be there, what vehicles to watch out for. and that simple act can create a better neighborhood.”

She says by doing this, more people are aware and are more willing to report crime when it happens.

One woman I spoke to living in the Hi-Crest neighborhood says crime last year was pretty awful. And thanks to the national night out event and other organizations, she’s finally able to see a turnaround in her community.
“Last summer you didn’t see children out playing,” Nellie Hogan, Treasurer for Safe Streets in Hi-Crest said. “People just kept their kids in. you know, it just didn’t happen. this summer kids are everywhere.”

Working with the program for years, Nellie Hogan says she’s seen many neighborhoods evolve into something she hadn’t imagined.

“National night out has drawn attention to the people in all the neighborhoods that…gee whiz…we live together, let’s get along together.”

Hogan says she’s looking forward to seeing the younger generation of families this year since they’re the future of the neighborhood.

Click here to see how you can be involved in National Night Out or to see if your community is participating.

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