INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Neighborhoods and towns across Central Indiana took a stand against crime on Tuesday night. It was for the annual celebration of National Night Out.
The event is a chance for homeowners to come out and show they not only support law enforcement, but are making their own efforts to help. And that grassroots effort is needed more in some towns than others.
In Whitestown, dozens of families packed the Town Hall parking lot to celebrate the event.
“I think it helps teach kids that these are people to trust, people that you can approach and they are nice and they are helpful,” said Ashley Saylor of Zionsville.
“Something like this allows us as law enforcement to be able to reemphasize the importance of watching out for your neighbor,” said Chief Dennis Anderson.
And donning bright yellow vests in Indianapolis are some of the most watchful neighbors of them all.
Pastor Haratio Luster is with the Ten Point Coaltion, a community group that doesn’t wait for National Night Out to put an end to violence. Volunteers walk around wearing the vests at crime scenes in Indy to connect with witnesses and provide a buffer between people and the police.
It’s helpful but it also puts them at risk.
“When we come out to the streets and dealing in the some of the areas we deal in, you have no idea what you’re going to deal with,” Luster said.
And one donor who recognized that gave the group a different kind of vest, one that’s bulletproof.
“Often times we’re in the midst of gun fight, gun battles, or guns going off, shots being fired, and that they felt that these were not going to protect us,” said Luster.
Luster is grateful for the gift, but doesn’t feel all his volunteers have to wear one.
Instead, he’d prefer to see more people better help and connect with officers to curb crime. National Night Out just happened to be the perfect opportunity.
“This is a great opportunity for the community and the police department to come together for just one purpose, one goal, and that’s for the safety for the city,” said Luster.
“You’re here to protect the community, you’re here the protect their children, you can’t get a better message than that,” Chief Anderson.
Pastor Luster said the bullet proof vest will be worn only in specific neighborhoods or when they feel the threat of gunfire is possible.
Although he’s not asking that people donate more of them, he wouldn’t mind if the group had a few extras.