Roanoke neighborhoods host National Night Out

This year’s event comes on the back end of a week with four fatal shootings

ROANOKE, Va. – Neighborhood groups throughout the Star City hosted this year’s National Night Out in hopes of building relationships with police.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live.

This year’s event follows a Tuesday morning shooting and a string of violent acts seen in the past week. Interim Roanoke Police Chief, Jerry Stokes, wanted to touch base with residents during National Night Out.

“We understand you’re scared. We are working on our strategy to ensure that we put things in place to help you from being scared or being a victim,” Stokes said.

With the staggering numbers, Stokes says it’s very important to keep building trust.

“We tell people ‘see something, say something’ … well they’re more likely to say something when they know us, are engaged with us, and have that trusting relationship. That’s what this is about,” Stokes said.

The Melrose-Rugby Neighborhood Forum was one of the groups to host a National Night Out event on Tuesday at McCadden Park.

President of the group, Stephen Niamke, hopes the event built relationships between neighbors themselves.

“We definitely want to build a relationship with the police but with neighbors as well. If we’re going to curb the violence, it really means talking to each other and trying to be preemptive. If we know that there’s a feud, if we know that there are some issues … let’s communicate that and deal with that ahead of time if we can,” Niamke said.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.