BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tucked away in West Baltimore, police officers put their best foot forward.

Across the nation, thousands of communities celebrated National Night Out on Tuesday, a day when police officers meet with neighbors to build a better bond, something Mayor Brandon Scott said is important in Baltimore.

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“(The Baltimore Police Department) must and will work hand-in-hand with city residents to reduce violence in the city,” he said.

Scott and city police Commissioner Michael Harrison went to 40 different citywide events, snapping pictures and shaking hands with neighbors and promising safer streets.

“For so long, we’ve built plans and designed policing with just us in mind. Now we’re designing and redesigning and reimagining policing with you at the table, helping us figure out what kind of department we want, what kind of department we need and you deserve,” Harrison said.

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As of Tuesday, there have been 197 homicides in the city and 393 nonfatal shootings so far this year. Neighbors said the violence is a major problem.

“We have no choice but to get it under control,” resident Irwin Wilson said.

Several National Night Out events are happening across the city and around the region, and some of them also have COVID-19 vaccination sites.

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Kelsey Kushner