CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — In communities across the nation, millions of porch lights will be shining bright tonight. It’s for National Night Out.
For more than 30 years, Cheektowaga residents and police have been partnering together to plan these events. They range from night processions with police leading the way and residents carrying lights to meet and greets.
The idea behind these events is to get people engaged and discussing the role the community plays in keeping violence down and communities safe.
“We serve the public,” said Assistant Chief Jim Speyer. “Our officers grew up in these neighborhoods; they are part of the neighborhood, part of the community. The only way we are going to solve these problems is to work together and you have to unite, come together with common ground and get to know each other. That’s what the whole night represents.”
Advocates say these events can be very powerful for survivors.
“We all want to send a message that violence is wrong,” said Robyn Wiktorski-Reynolds, the advocacy director for Crisis Services. “Violence in our community, homes, is not acceptable. Oftentimes, survivors of these crimes feel very isolated or may have shame or guilt. When individuals who see this support, people striving for safer communities, they feel like someone has their back.”