Communities around the country celebrated National Night Out. The nationwide push was started in 1981 as a way to make neighborhoods stronger and raise awareness about crime prevention.
The Housing Authority of the City of Austin has been participating for fifteenth years. All eighteen of their properties held events, including the Meadowbrook Apartments and the Booker T. Washington Terraces.
Kids enjoyed running around outside, playing games and getting to know their neighbors. There were also opportunities to learn about services available in their communities.
Austin Travis County EMS, the Austin Fire Department, and Austin Police were also there getting to know the residents. But it's not all about the fun and games, it's about strengthening community relations. Something the Austin Police Department says they are focused on doing for more than just one night out of the year.
"When you have kids like these that need our help and need our attention every day, that's what the patrol officer does. A lot of time they are stuck going from call to call to call," says APD Assistant Chief Jason Dusterhoft, adding, "Thankfully the City Council did add more officers next year, and we think we'll be able to use them for more community engagement events like this."
According to HACA, about five hundred residents overall turned out for the events.