MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds across South Florida took part in National Night Out, an event designed to strengthen partnerships between police and the community.
“It’s kind of a united stand against crime but really more than it’s an opportunity for us to come out an interact with the community in a way that often times we don’t have the ability to,” said City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina.
City of Miami Police held three National Night Out events throughout the city.
The site at Liberty Square off NW 64th St. and 14th Ave. in Liberty City was transformed with a bounce house, a cookout, and City of Miami Police officers there to build bridges in the community.
Liberty City is an area that has been plagued with shootings and violence for many years. Tuesday night, residents got to talk to some of the officers who respond during emergencies while also enjoying some food, games, giveaways and getting crime safety tips.
“It’s a lot of crime that’s going on in this local community right here and I feel if I can just step out, help the Miami Police Department reducing crime, it’ll be a good thing for this community,” said event participant Tavares Collins.
“Think it’s a good thing for the kids, giving back to the community, trying to have peace in the ‘hood. We have the young generation we have to think about now. It aint about us, it’s about their future,” said event participant Terrance Jackson.
Miami-Dade Police held its National Night Out in West Perrine where a 10-year-old boy became an innocent victim of gun violence back in June. The boy was able to attend the event and interact with one of the officers who responded to the call.
“I thought I was not going to see my family anymore,” said Makaih Smith when asked about the shooting.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez says the event is the perfect opportunity to show appreciation for those who want to get involved and showcase the department is there for the community.
“It’s an opportunity to bring out more community members and be able to bridge the community with police but really this is something that we try to do every single day but today we bring in our resources in at the same exact time, make a party out of it, make it an event,” said Director Perez.
National Night Out has been held for 35 years.