MOUNT VERNON - Communities across the region participated Tuesday night in the 31st annual National Night Out Against Crime.

The event allows residents to get to know their local police departments and get involved in keeping crime down in their neighborhoods.

The event was started in 1984 to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and to send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Sgt. Richton Ziadie, of the Mount Vernon Police Department, says the event can show criminals that the community is supporting the police and that they want to stop crime.

Police provided activities and food to celebrate protecting and serving the community they patrol every day.

National Night Out now involves over 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all 50 states and Canada.