National Night Out kicks off in Philadelphia neighborhoods

People gathered Monday night in an effort to help make their community safer as National Night Out kicked off in Philadelphia neighborhoods. 

"I think it's despicable the things that are going on right now," said Kelly Ponton. She has strong feelings about the violence plaguing our city.  She came out for the kick-off to National Night out in her Southwest Philly neighborhood at 51st and Pine. Her mother, niece, nephew and son came with her.

"This neighborhood actually does a lot of good events like this all the time so I think it's a real good thing," she said.

Kelly believes curbing violence particularly gun violence takes more than events like this and police.

"Parents. (Why?) Because the influence of children, what they're listening to and how they're being raised," she said. 

The Sheriff's Department set up along with other agencies to give out gun locks to help prevent accidental shootings in homes and the community heard from police, local and state representatives about the importance of keeping neighborhoods safe.

"Primarily to show that they are in support of their community, want to remain safe in their community, want to work with us each and every day to make sure the community stays safe," said Philadelphia Police Captain John Stanford.

In Northeast Philly on the 7300 block of Bustleton Avenue in Rhawnhurst residents and officials gathered there to celebrate law enforcement.

"It's really a rally of people that are supporting that Philadelphia Police that do work for their communities," said Councilman Al Taubenberger.

On the heels of two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, officials say National Night Out remains a critical event.

"It shows that we the American people are not going to be rendered fearful of coming out and enjoying time with our neighbors and with our friends. This is the way we really build community," said Congressman Brendan Boyle.