Local community takes a stand during National Night Out
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Communities across the country gathered, Tuesday night, to send a message to criminals.
Their message, we are organized and fighting back.
It's all part of the 28th annual National Night Out, a night to share ideas on how to keep the good in and the drugs and crime out.
From a distance it looks like any other block party, with lemonade, BBQ and door prizes.
"We've had our fair share of like break-ins, and burglaries," says Judith Schorr.
Schorr has lived in Highland Park since 1975, when crime was much worse. By the 1990's this community had a bad reputation.
"When I came in 1996 this was one of the worst areas in Chattanooga," says Chattanooga Police Officer Wayne Jefferson.
"In one year we had 36 homicides in Highland Park, in the Highland Park, you know the 37404 zip code, so I understand the fear, but the people have got to get over that fear," says Schorr.
Schorr and a group of neighbors have conquered fears by creating a neighborhood watch group.
Now two decades later, people are moving to Highland Park to rediscover its charm.
"We have a lot of people who are looking and watching, they're not afraid to call the police, and they are not afraid to look after their neighbor," says Schorr.
While this community celebrates progress, crime still grips other parts of the Scenic City.
Murderers have taken 17 lives in Chattanooga since January, even more have been shot.
"We need the neighborhoods to stand up and tell us what is going on because their information is what will help us solve the cases," says Officer Jefferson.
Highland Park residents will tell you no one person can turn a community around.
"Its going to take everybody on the same page with the same attitude, it cant just be one person, it cant just be one person's dream," says Adam Morgan.
This historic corner of cCattanooga is proof, good can conquer evil.
"They have got to, these neighborhoods have got to take them back," says Schorr.
Last year 15,000 communities, nation wide, hosted National Night Out events, 37 million people participated.
This year, events were held in several Chattanooga neighborhoods, Hamilton and Bradley Counties.