ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — ‘National Night Out’ is a community-building campaign that promotes police partnerships with neighborhoods across the U.S. — with the goal of making things safer and increasing positive visibility. Several locations across the city, including the Lake Section, the Genesee Section, the Goodman Section, and the Clinton Section, all took part.

Mayor Malik Evans at La Marketa on North Clinton said National Night Out gives people and police the chance to connect. 

“Have some fun with the neighborhoods, I mean we have a dunk booth here, food, music — this is in every quadrant of the city,” he said.

Just a fortnight ago, Evans declared a gun violence emergency in Rochester, a prime focus is this area of North Clinton Ave. In less than a week, three people were killed around here, shot to death.

Evans says this is a preventative measure. 

“To bring out darkness, you have to bring in light. And what we have here is light. We’re bringing in law enforcement, we’re bringing the community together,” he said.

Police Chief David Smith says after the tragic loss of Officer Tony Mazurkiewicz, this is exactly what those in the ranks needed. Smith says for help solving crimes, it starts here. 

“Folks aren’t going to come forward with information, they’re not going to tell us things if they don’t trust us,” he said.

Jamie Bermudez says the police here is a double-edged sword for minority communities… however, “When we see the ‘blue’ come out and they’re a part of something where it’s not associated with crime, where it’s not associated with problems, then you get better visibility and you get a better understanding,” he said.

Brianna Milon is with Action for a Better Community. The organization provides educational, medical, and other resources to those in need. She says whoever is here right now, it matters.  

“We should all be fighting for these people who are hurt and on these streets, every day and they really need our support,” said Milon.

Evans says he’ll use whatever tool he can — even on occasions like this — to help end violence on these streets. “Obviously, we’re making progress every day,” says Evans.