Wichitans take part in national anti-crime event

From a few blocks away, drums could be heard and balloons could be seen.

At Nomar International Market near 21st and Broadway on Tuesday night, over 100 people gathered to celebrate National Night Out.

"It's a night about coming together," said Anita Mendoza, an employee at Nomar. "Business owners are here from across the street interacting and it is all for the positive."

According to the Wichita Police Department website, National Night Out is "a coast-to-coast crime prevention project."

Many officers attended celebrations throughout Wichita. Police Chief Norman Williams, accompanied by Mayor Carl Brewer, stopped at Nomar.

"National Night Out is an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other, and we are sending the message that criminals aren't welcome here," he said.

Cynthia Martinez from AmeriCorps helped with the event as well.

"This was our first year at this location, and we decided to go with the health and fitness theme," she said. "We gave the kids jump ropes, soccer balls and books so they have stuff to do outside instead of watching TV."

Fruit and vegetables as well as dinner were given away, Mendoza said.

Martinez said they are already planning to do the event again next year.

"It is just a great thing," she said. "You didn't only see parents out here, but you saw the whole family: kids, parents and grandparents. It is the beginning of building a community."