FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Oct. 4 is National Night Out, when local police attend community get togethers with the goal to let people know they're approachable and create bonds.
It's Shirley Bryant's 14th year hosting National Night Out for her Fort Worth neighborhood.
"Actually, just to be frank with you, it all started with a crime that was going on here in our neighborhood," Bryant said.
Prostitution and drug deals were happening right next door.
"I said I've had enough… and so I became president of our neighborhood association," she said.
This event is an opportunity for everyone to get together and meet police - including Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes.
"It's not just important to come out," Noakes said. "It's enjoyable to come out. We always talk about working with the community to make them what we all want them to be."
Right now, the Fort Worth Police Department is putting a priority on reducing violent crime.
A 66% increase in homicides within the past two years has led to the launch of a public safety initiative targeting high crime areas, officers finding wanted felons and using other city departments to address issues like loitering.
"We're seeing some declines here recently in homicides," Noakes said. "Our numbers are still not where we want them to be."
As of late last month, there's been about a 5% year-to-date decrease in homicides, 24% decrease in non-fatal shootings and 23% decrease in aggravated assaults.
Noakes is calling it progress, but says there's still more work to be done.
"We can't do it by ourselves," he said. "We got to be able to do it together. We have opportunities to build trust and build relationships."
Both Noakes and Bryant say they've seen firsthand, that it can make a difference.
"It's a way for us to actually build those bridges that we have to have to work together," Noakes said.
"If there's something different in the neighborhood, you'll know it," Bryant said.
This was just one of several stops for the Fort Worth police department Tuesday night. Additionally, they say they have several other community building events they participate in throughout the year.
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