Chicago’s National Night Out to bridge gaps within community
BRISTOL, IL — Chicago, the third most populous city in the US with approximately 2.7 million people, is also known for having the highest number of homicides in the United States, with 400 killings so far this year.
The biggest cause of death is gun violence.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 2,100 people across the city have been shot.
At yesterday’s National Night Out, over 16,000 communities came together with local law enforcement to support crime prevention efforts in a fun atmosphere.
Kendall County, a county within the Chicago metropolitan area, also participated with the rest of the nation.
“We’re having a baseball game, part of national night out. It’s an event that happens all over the United States to bring law enforcement and community together,” said Deputy David Lawson.
“The reason why we are doing this is to work with the community, bringing together the community and the children with law enforcement, filling that gap — that they have the misconception with police officers being against them, which they’re not,” said Deputy Sheriff Nancy Velez.
Joe Buan says he has been looking forward to this annual event.
“It is really important for law-enforcement agencies to get out there, and that’s what we’re trying to do — to make sure that we are seen in the neighborhood; that we are just normal people, we are part of the neighborhood and we’re part of the community and we are here to serve and protect,” he said.
This year, the police team played baseball against the local youth team.
“It’s fun.. It’s really fun to do. It’s enjoyable!” said Derek Torza, a youth baseball player.
When asked what the law enforcers want the community, especially the youth to take away from the national night out, Velez says to “stay in school, stay out of trouble, say ‘no’ to drugs, say ‘no’ to gangs, and do really good in school and graduate.”