Thousands send message to criminals on National Night Out

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UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI)-- Thousands across the St. Louis area took their streets and the headlines back from the criminals Tuesday night.

St. Louis Police Chief, Sam Dotson, used Twitter to spread the word on National Night Out against crime, tweeting from about a half-dozen stops at events around the city.

Perhaps the biggest crowd was in University City.

About 5,000 people turned out for a combined “Night Out” and “Back to School” fair put on by U-City Police and U-City Schools.

People truly wanted to send a message to the criminal element that they demand safe streets, safe schools, and won't settle for less.

Less than 24 hours after we told you about a triple shooting and another round of smash and grab car break-ins; with suspects police said were looking for guns to steal --

Rhonda Simmons’ entourage of nieces were making their own news.

“The entourage, yes,” Simmons beamed.

“Welcome to National Night Out,” her 3 nieces said, taking the Fox 2 microphone.

2 of the girls were headed for first grade; the other, kindergarten.

There were free haircuts, free face painting, school backpacks and supplies, even a small zoo.

The crowd kept swelling, people drawn not just by the giveaways, but also the chance to show, though crime and violence so often dominate the headlines, they do not define us.

“We’re very sick of it all,” Simmons said.

“These are our neighborhood schools and these are our kids.  We do great things for them and with the city for them,” said DeAun Blumberg of the University City School District.

“This is a better story than all of those killings that go on in the STL,” Simmons said.

“We can combat any crime.  That’s in the neighborhood.  This is how you keep your neighborhood safe.  This is how you keep residence safe.  This is how you keep your business safe – your own personal safety,” said Captain Carol Jackson of the University City Police Department.  “It’s a night out!  It’s a night out!  We love it.”

It was the second year U-City schools and police combined efforts on National Night Out.

The first day of school here is August 20th.

Email: Andy.Banker@tvstl.com

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Facebook:  Andy Banker on Fox 2

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