National Night Out highlights success of local neighborhood watch groups

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- In more than 100 neighborhoods across Greensboro, National Night Out is a night of food, games and meeting public servants.

"This is a good thing. It's a trend that's growing with people moving towards us to make relationships," said Sgt. Ryan Todd with the Greensboro Police Department.

But for Brenda Thomas and the Pear Leaf Neighborhood off West Florida Street, it's also a new beginning. Thomas says her neighborhood needed the community watch group she started a year ago. She says in just 12 months they are already seeing change.

"We don't see a lot of crime around here anymore. They are starting to clean up the neighborhood, not a lot of crime, there is a very low crime rate here in this area," Thomas explained. She also said that kids aren't out at the playground at night anymore and gangs know they are not welcome. "Our police are getting involved they are coming out they are checking the neighborhood," Thomas said.

Sgt. Todd says National Night Out gives people a relaxed atmosphere to speak with police. "People feel a lot more comfortable i think in this setting asking us questions they wouldn't normally ask and I think they feel a lot more comfortable calling us about issues they wouldn't normally call us about," Todd said.

Thomas says the neighborhood watch group sends a much-needed message to this community.

"It lets them know we are people and we are human and people care about them and then that will make them want to do better, it gives them an opportunity to do better," Thomas said.