St. Louis area neighborhoods highlight crime and drug prevention during National Night Out

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-Tuesday night, all over the metro area and throughout the country people and police came together to take a stand against crime.

The University City School District and city police teamed up for a block party celebrating National Night Out and the district’s annual Back-to-School Rally.

National Night Out, held every year on the first Tuesday of August, is an event designed to raise awareness of community policing, crime and drug prevention across the United States.

It was the sixth year of the combined, community-wide event for University City.

The event offered food, entertainment, face-painting, haircuts and health screenings in addition to back packs filled with school supplies for students on all grade levels preparing for school to begin August 15.

It was a lively atmosphere with plenty of food and fun to go around in the Patch Neighborhood.

The band, Redheaded Strangers provided plenty of free entertainment.

Police and firefighters also took part in the national event, all in an effort to get to know their community.

"For us it's trying to bring communities together and also bridge that divide between police and younger individuals and young adults," said Angel Tutt, president of the neighborhood association.

Downtown St. Louis hosted its own version of the national movement.

It was put together by the Homeowners Association of Printer's Lofts on Locust Street.

Police on bike patrol, in addition to firefighters were mingling with neighbors.

Some residents said that while there might be some misconceptions about downtown the event was their way of presenting their neighborhood in a more positive light.

"We want to show people this is not an unsafe area," said HOA president for Printer's Lofts, Laura Griffin, president of Printers Lofts. "We are out here and walking to the restaurants, we are walking to the ball game all the time, we just want to bring out our neighbors."

"We need everybody in order to be able to solve crimes that happen in our community,” Captain Renee Kriesmann of the fourth district with the City of St. Louis Police Department. "So, this is important so that we can meet people and understand who they are and what they see."

A back-to-school book bag giveaway and health fair will be held on Saturday August 5 from 10am-2pm at the Patch Neighborhood Center. Attendees must show proof of residency and have their child present.