SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s the first National Night Out since the pandemic forced cancellations last year. Multiple events were spread out throughout different neighborhoods filled with community celebrations, live music, food, and resources, including pop-up COVID clinics.

“We just wanted to come out and enjoy it,” explained mom Moe Jackson-Mask.

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The event, which is designed to promote safer neighborhoods and police-community partnerships, comes as crime is spiking in Sacramento.

“It is very frightening to see those numbers spike. The only thing that we can do as a community is to keep our kids close,” explained Oak Park native Jessica Montoya.

Montoya, a mother of three, brought her entire family.

“The pandemic that is happening, there are a lot of emotions going on in people and in the streets that’s causing these crime rates to go up,” she explained.

Countless guns are being taken off the street as Sacramento police post their finds weekly. At the same time, homicides have increased by 33 percent from 27 last year to 36 this year over the same time period.

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“It’s definitely dangerous and getting unsafe in different areas,” explained Jackson-Mask. “I think there need to be more things targeted towards the youth. A lot of youth are out and about now and I feel like that is why the violence is going up,” she said.

Councilmember Eric Guerra, who represents District 6, explained a desire for the city to invest in young kids and give them positive outlets to curb future violence.

“When police have to come out after the fact, that’s too late,” he explained.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg is promising to allocate funding to address the city’s violence. Steinberg said the city will dedicate a large portion of their $112,000,000 in federal COVID-19 funding through the American Rescue Plan Act to youth and violence reduction efforts.

“We are going to put our dollars where our values are and where the need is,” Steinberg said. “We are putting more of our city resources into our neighborhoods, in our businesses, in our young people. We need to continue to do that and that makes a difference.”

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Mayor Steinberg said that over the next couple of weeks the community will be able to start to see more city funding going towards some of these efforts.

Velena Jones