By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Neighbors came out of their homes and into their neighborhoods Tuesday night to celebrate National Night Out.

The annual gathering was designed to build a healthier and safer community by getting people involved where they live. And this night has a special significance for New Brighton.

The Garden View apartments are now on the bounce. What once was a troubled property is now a jewel in the city: low crime, tenant involvement and neighbors knowing one another. It’s helped turned this community around.

Neighbors celebrated with cotton candy, a dunk tank and kabobs on the grill. Two weeks ago, the parking lot they used for the celebration was under more than four feet of water.

Tuesday night was an occasion where neighbors celebrated their past successes and talk about what it will take to keep this neighborhood on the right track.

Not far from Garden View, a community of seniors was proof that National Night Out is for everyone. The gathering is one of about 135 across the city of New Brighton.

More than half of New Brighton’s 22,000 residents take part in the event, keeping this city in the top 20 in the country for National Night Out participation.

People also came out of their homes to mix and mingle with neighbors in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan knows this type of involvement.

“To fight crime, you can’t have anonymity on the block. You need to know. If you know who these kids are and what their names are — that’s Ben, that’s Tommy, that’s Peter and their moms’ name is Lora — crime doesn’t happen in those situations.”

It seems to be working. From 2006 to 2010, violent crime is down 34 percent in Hennepin County, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Minneapolis is typically one of the top five cities in National Night Out participation.


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