SAN ANTONIO -

Dozens of communities across San Antonio came together Tuesday for a block party with a purpose on National Night Out.

The annual event gathers neighbors, local law enforcement and community leaders together in an effort to prevent drug use and crime.

At the Frank Garrett Community Center on the West Side, neighbors took the opportunity to enjoy good food and entertainment while getting to know each other.

“It lets the criminal entities know that we are unified and we're standing together,” said Pastor Craig Grubbs, who volunteered at the event. “Its not so much of getting rid  of them or sending them out of the community. It’s letting them know we need them here, we're just not going to stand for and condone what they're doing.”

“People are not just behind closed doors. You have an opportunity to see who your neighbor is, know who your neighbor is and your neighbor know you,” said West Side resident, Regina Hunter.

That is the crime fighting tool - taking a stand as a neighborhood to let criminals know that its not just law enforcement on the lookout.

“The important part about that is that when neighbors know each other, they watch out for each other,” said Bexar County Sheriff, Susan Pamerleau. “When that happens, crime goes down.”

It was a familiar scene at the National Night Out event held on the South Side at Harlandale ISD Memorial Stadium.

“We are united and we watch out for each other,” said resident, Melissa Rodriguez. “We want to send a message to anyone who wants to invade that.”

“Here in San Antonio, neighbors know each other and trust each other and tonight is about meeting new neighbors, celebrating friendships and working with our police officers to make sure that our neighborhoods are very, very safe,” said Mayor Julian Castro.

Some 37 million people attend National Night Out events throughout the U.S. and Canada each year. The event is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.

To view a slideshow of the event, click here.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.