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National Night Out helps fight crime

DECATUR -- People here joined 30 million others across the country in an effort to get to know their neighbors.
DECATUR -- People here joined 30 million others across the country in an effort to get to know their neighbors. It was National Night Out, a time when law enforcement and community leaders join forces to fight crime.

They gathered at Mueller, Hess and Fairview parks, breaking the ice with people they may normally not communicate with. Tuesday night, dozens of people walked with city leaders, to start the conversation. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley has the story.

"Criminals don't like light. They want to remain anonymous so they don't get caught."

That's why National Night Out co-chair Francie Johnson has been making a lot of light and noise.

"I'm passionate about it."

Neighbors walked out of their homes and past their comfort zones to get to know each other. It's a move that seems simple and small, but makes a big difference.

"If you know what your neighbors are doing, their habits, you can tell when something's not right. The lady down the street that you haven't seen in a couple days. Only you would know that, nobody else would."

For law enforcement, National Night Out is a great way to break down barriers. Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider says this is their way of getting out and listening.

"Usually we're responding to complaints. Tonight, we're finding out what might be bothering them and find out what we might be doing right."

Over the years, this night has helped solve dozens of cold cases.

"You'll make contact with somebody, they'll give you information and they might feel a little bit more free to give you information in the future."

It's why people like Johnson will continue to get to know her community, and spread the light.

"If you light up wherever you're gonna be, you light it up and let's tell the criminals we're here and we're watching you."

There might be people at home who couldn't make it out to the event. They are encouraged to keep their porch lights on to show support.
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