National Night Out takes aim at violence

National Night Out takes aim at violence

Latest: 10:01 pm CHAMPAIGN -- One mother is doing something about gun violence in her neighborhood as part of an effort to take back communities facing crime.
Latest: 10:01 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- One mother is doing something about gun violence in her neighborhood as part of an effort to take back communities facing crime. WCIA-3's Lindsey Gordon finds out how violence has hurt this neighborhood.

It's seen shootings in the past. A year ago, one mother in this complex took matters into her own hands. Now, she's focusing on the future of the community.

"This really started to be a high-crime area and kids were being very destructive out here."

Last summer, Latricia Johnson says kids at her complex saw a shooting in broad daylight. That's when she knew she needed to do something. So she and other concerned adults formed the Town Center Neighborhood Association through the city.

"As a community, we are always concerned when there is an issue of gun violence."

The association's main goal is to work with police and put on activities for kids who live here.

"It takes a village to raise a child and I always tell everybody out here in Town Center, this is our village, raising our children. Let's do this together."

Tuesday, they brought in a Tae Kwon Do instructor to teach self-defense.

"Not only do I want to build up these kids, I want to build up these homes to empower families to come together to do something positive. Then, it will really stop a lot of the violence."

Across town, the city still held a community-wide Night Out celebration at Douglass Park. Many people were drawn to the music and others were there to support the cause.

"Just in the last couple years, I think it's gotten kind of out of hand and I really think that the adults need to show youth support."

That's exactly what's going on at Town Center and it starts with the people who live there.

"It's about taking neighborhoods back."

Latricia Johnson says she's seen a difference since they organized an association. The city has nearly 70 different registered groups, including neighborhood watches and associations.
Update: 6:03 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- People want to stop crime and neighborhoods are joining forces Tuesday night. People filled Douglass Park for the annual National Night Out. There's fun, entertainment and activities.

Town Center Apartments also hosted an event for the night. It was a little different with about twenty kids taking part in Tae Kwon Do self-defense demonstrations.

The Town Center Apartments Neighborhood Association says it's dedicated to giving kids something to do. When considering crime, they think its important to arm kids with knowledge about staying safe.

The event at Douglass Park lasts until 8 pm. Everyone is invited to join the event to show unity and take a stand against crime. There are 84 towns and cities in the state taking part in the national event. Nearly 40 million people in the country are as well.
Original: 5:00 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- People are getting tired of crime and violence and Tuesday night, they're making their voices heard. The annual National Night Out event kicked off about 4 pm. Its goal is to bring communities together and fight crime.

At Town Center Apartments, they wanted to focus on neighborhood kids. The event is a little different and much more active. There were about 20 kids taking part in a Tae Kwon Do self-defense demonstration.

The Town Center Apartments Neighborhood Association says it's dedicated to giving kids something to do. When considering crime, they think it's important to arm kids with knowledge about staying safe.

Later, there's a community-wide gathering at Douglass Park. There are 84 towns and cities in the state taking part in the national event.

The annual celebration first began in 1984. That first year, 2.5 million people took part in 23 states. Now, National Night Out involves nearly 40 million people in all 50 states.
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