Officers across RVA gear up to tap community for tips

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Police and emergency responders are gearing up to tap one of their most valuable resources- you. A National Night Out kick-off party, Sunday, rallied neighbors in Chesterfield. Nation Night Out will happen the evening of August 5th. Neighbors are encouraged throw a block party that night, so police and firefighters can stop by.

"A lot of people don't even know who the police officers are who work for them. It gives us a chance to meet them, and greet the people whom we work for," said Cpl. Scott Gordon, of Chesterfield Police.

The event is especially pressing for Richmond, since the city has seen an increase in hard crime, since January. For example, there have been 23 homicides reported throughout the city in 2014, compared to 16 at this time last year.

National Night Out also helps investigators create a relationship with neighbors, so people can feel more comfortable leading police to the bad guys, or calling for help, like eight-year-old Kyle Jurkuta.

"I'd feel okay to call (police), if it's actually an emergency," said Jurkuta, after chatting with Chesterfield officers at the kick-off concert.

Even though Chesterfield police told NBC12 that property crimes often take up more of their resources than hard crime, the goal is the same for police departments across the U.S. on National Night Out. First responders aim to create and keep an open dialogue with the community.

"As a police entity, we can analyze and patrol and do all types of stuff like that, and come up with our own conclusion of what we see. But what's most important is what the citizens are feeling in their own neighborhood," said Captain Marty Harrison, of Richmond Police Department's Second Precinct, in the Southside.

Just this weekend, Richmond's Southside officers asked the community, again, about their concerns. Unfortunately, this area has seen a significant increase in crime, since the beginning of the year.

However, Captain Harrison says crime rates in his area are now improving since the first half of 2014. Even still, Harrison says the hard work will continue.  
"We're going to collaborate and try to find solutions to those issues, whether it be trash in the neighborhood, blight, overgrown grass, or crime issues," continued Captain Harrison.

Click here for information on how you can sign your neighborhood up for National Night Out.

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