National Night Out helps communities fight crime together

North Charleston police hosted National Night Out at Pepperhill Elementary School on Tuesday, hoping to increase crime awareness in the community.

"It makes me, as a parent, feel good about awareness," said North Charleston resident Robin Chestnut.

Chestnut said she wants her daughter, Mary Katelyn, to grow up in a community where residents work with police officers in an attempt to better combat crime.

"Let them be aware of what goes on in this community to help them be close knit and not be scared of the officers," Chestnut said.

Officers say that's one major goal of National Night Out. First, you meet law enforcement in the community and then you work together to lower the crime rate.

"When you get to an officer, and get to talk to him and ask him questions, it gives people a sense that we're out here, we're your friends," said North Charleston Master Patrol Officer Brian West.

Chestnut and her family live in the Pepperhill neighborhood where one of the 14 National Night Out events in North Charleston was held.

West says this is the largest turnout to the North Charleston events that he's seen in three years.

There were 14 events in North Charleston, and many more across Charleston County.

In Adam's Run, people welcomed law enforcement.

"It is very important, and we are excited about what's happening here in the community. It's essential we have this," Frances Matthews, Adams Run resident, said.

Across the country, people are celebrating the event with block parties and cookouts, sending a message to criminals that communities are united and organized and fighting back against crime.

"It makes me as a parent feel good about awareness," Chestnut said.

The City of Charleston had its National Night out last Saturday.

This is the 28th year for the national event. Officials expect about 15,000 communities to participate nationwide.

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