National Night Out celebrated in Sioux Falls

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Million of people across the nation got outside and spend time with their neighbors Tuesday evening.

That's because it was National Night Out.

National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, and also generate participation in local anti-crime programs.

There has been a recent uptick in reported shootings in Sioux Falls, and just days ago, mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

National Night out is meant to bring communities together and prevent these tragedies.

More than 20 neighborhoods in Sioux Falls organized block parties to celebrate the event.

At the parties, adults and children were able to meet police officers, firefighters, and city officials.

"It's a great way to reach out to the community and talk to people in a non-crisis situation. We can talk to people, see what were doing right, and what we can work on," Sioux Falls Community Resource Officer, Kyle Johnson, said.

Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Tenhaken attended a few of the block parties himself.

He says it's important people feel comfortable around the city's law enforcement.

"Some of the national dialogue can sometimes paint public safety officials in a bad light and that's unfortunate because it's the exact opposite," Tenhaken said.

National Night Out intends to strengthen community relationships and sends a message to criminals.