Thousands participate in National Night Out - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Thousands participate in National Night Out

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Hundreds to participate in National Night Out (WFSB) Hundreds to participate in National Night Out (WFSB)

On Tuesday, thousands of people across the state participated in National Night Out, which builds bonds between local police and community members.

In the city of Hartford, the event is taking on a new importance.

National Night Out started at about 5 p.m. and in Hartford there was a peace march, and one of the goals is about making sure people feel safe despite the uptick in violence.

The National Night Out happens every first Tuesday in August, across the country.

The goal is for police to build a stronger relationship with their communities.

“Our policing is only as good ‎as the cooperation we get from the community,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Tuesday’s National Night Out event in Hartford is coming at a time when it is one of the most dangerous.

Already the city has had 20 homicides, which is more than all of last year.

The latest victim was 25-year-old Devon Mitchell who was fatally shot near a pizza restaurant on Blue Hills Avenue.

Last week, Malloy met with Hartford businesses and other leaders to assure them the state was doing its part to stem the violence.

“I noticed an uptick since we had that meeting ‎of people actually calling in with information so that's what we need,” Malloy said.

The events in Hartford happened as a debate is raging on on how to fix the growing problem of violence.

"I think it's great to see the community come together on a night like this," said Luke Bronin, who is the democratic mayoral candidate.

As the community struggles with the violence, both democratic candidates for Hartford's mayor have different visions on how to fix it.

"Targeting illegal gun ownership, increasing employment opportunities for young people through a public private partnership, stabilizing the crisis in police staffing," Bronin said.

While current Mayor Pedro Segarra's campaign manager Michael Bland said "it's easy for somebody to say this whose never held office."

Bland said Segarra's plan includes soliciting help from the state and the federal government.

"He's continued to meet with the governor, other elected officials and something that he can do is meet with other mayors who are having this systemic problem," Bland said.

There are similar events taking place in other parts of the state:

Hartford: Events at Cronin Park, Parker Memorial Center, Tuscan Homes, Milner School, and the Collin Bennet Building

New Britain: Events at Walnut Hill Park and Willow Street Park from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

New London: Events at Ocean Beach Park from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Norwich: Events at Shop Rite Supermarket parking lot at 624 West Main St. from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Vernon: Events at Central Park, Rockville from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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