National Night Out gets communities involved in crime prevention - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

National Night Out gets communities involved in crime prevention

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Local law enforcement agencies were part of a nationwide effort to get to know their communities better. Tuesday night was America's Night Out Against Crime. 

Authorities will tell you the best way to prevent crime is to keep watch volunteers informed, interested and involved. It's just another opportunity for police to keep the lines of communication open with the people they serve.

"Without witnesses and information that we gain from the community, many crimes would go unsolved," said Deputy Chief Shawn Caldwell, Lake Charles Police.

Back in March of this year, that partnership worked for the residents of Sunlight Manor. They helped Lake Charles Police solve a triple homicide at neighboring McMillan Park. Three men were gunned down and two others arrested. It's a crime that's put this community into action.

"My thoughts were, we have to take our community back because so much is going on here. We have to let everyone know that positive things do come out of Sunlight Manor," said Deidra Young, who grew up in Sunlight Manor.

Helping with the community take back is Crystal Batiste Lee. Like Young, Lee grew up in the area, too, and said for all the bad that came with the tragedy, they're finally starting to see the good.

"It brought the community back together. It's making people look out more for other people's children, which is not a bad thing. It's great because we are better now. We were once a community separated from one another, but now they are coming together as one," said Lee.

While kids may not always understand the crime problem, they are learning ways to talk about and prevent it.

"The outlet for them a lot of times is educational computer games and allowing them to just be kids ... And to realize certainly there are solutions to problems other than using your fists and guns," said Jerrol Wilson, Sunlight Manor Resident Service Coordinator.

A recovering community and police, working together -- not only on National Night Out -- but every night of the year.

"Each neighborhood knows what happens in their neighborhood. They know who belongs there, they know when something is not right. And if they can relay that to us, it makes life better for them because will be able to solve the crimes and get criminals off the street," said Caldwell.

The first ever National Night Out was in August 1984. Since then, it's grown to 37 million people, in 15,000 communities in all 50 states. 

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