The highly anticipated National Night Out has arrived all across the Richmond area. With Chesterfield Hanover, Henrico, Goochland and many more local counties holding their own events, gatherings were accessible to nearly every member of the community.

Law enforcement came out to celebrate as well. Chesterfield County Police Chief Jefferey Katz spoke with 8News at one of his first stops of the day — Stonebridge Recreation Center. The event hosted by Virginia Parks and Rec welcomed police officers, members of the sheriff’s department, and community members alike a place to eat hotdogs and snow cones, but also to converse with one another.

Resident Jacqueline Brooks tells 8News she recently retired and this felt like the perfect opportunity to become more involved in her community. She attended her event not just as a way to meet more people and dive deeper into her community’s social scene, but as a way to learn more about what’s being donet to help imrpove the state of Richmond area as well.

As of Sunday, there have been a total of 653 violent crimes in the city of Richmond — that’s 28 more than last year around this time. While this doesn’t directly correlate with Chesterfield County, people like Brooks worry about the net increase in crime throughout the greater Richmond area.

Brooks notes the crimes she hears about every night and how she hopes events like this will unify the community and help residents gain a respect for one another.

“Every day you look at the news and stuff there’s always crime going on, you know,” Brooks said. “We’ve got to get out of that. We’ve got to respect each other, we don’t like them we still got to respect them, and you know, we all have to live here, so we got to make it a better place for people to live.

Chief Katz said he looks forward to this event every year as a chance to represent law enforcement.

“This is personal for us.” Katz said.

“We not only work for Chesterfield County, but many of us live in Chesterfield County.” Katz said.

He highlights how members of the local law enforcement have kids who go to county schools, drive on the county’s roads — they have personal stake in the community’s safety and well-being.