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South Grand businesses, residents invited to National Night Out

The event is to promote crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for local anti-crime programs, and relationships with police.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis’ Neighborhood Stabilization team went door to door to ask businesses for their help to prevent crime and strengthen relationships with police on Tuesday.

A group started by passing out flyers for businesses to post inside their windows on South Grand to promote National Night Out in St. Louis on Tuesday, October 4, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The day was established in 1984 when cities across the country block off streets for residents to attend safe and fun parties.         

Goals include heightening crime and drug prevention awareness, generating support for local anti-crime programs, and strengthening neighborhood spirit and relationships with police.

"Take back your neighborhoods. Have that conversation with your residents. See something. Say something. There's power in numbers when we come together," said Karen Washington, the team’s outreach supervisor.

St. Louis’ southside has experienced everything from shootings to grand auto theft in recent years. Incidents include knife fights, aggressive panhandling, and trash piling up at business storefronts.

Jesus Estrada at Padrino's which has been on Grand Boulevard for nearly a year had a request for more police presence.

"Sometimes we call and they don't show up right away. I understand they are short on people but it might help if there's some police around here at night time," he said.

Their neighbors next door at Steve’s Hot Dogs rallied for better law enforcement presence also and for society to address deeper systemic issues.

"Programs where they can have mental health without insurance or addiction places. You know it's really hard to judge a book by its cover for some of the people who don't have anything," said Chris Hart, assistant general manager at the restaurant.

Mimi Haag, a resident on Hartford Street, had been to the National Night Out event for several years.

"We have a neighborhood block captain. Actually two right on our block. We talk about putting your lights on at night. Porch lights on so we do try to take care of each other." Haag said.

If anyone would like to block off a street to participate, contact the Neighborhood Stabilization Team to register at 314-657-1392 or through the city's website

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