The Heights of Tyler Block Party

Written by BY Kelly Gooch, kgooch@tylerpaper.com | Tyler Morning Telegraph

Tyler residents attended block parties throughout the city Tuesday during the annual Texans Against Crime event. The event allows neighbors to fellowship, discuss crime prevention, and get to know each other better.

The Tyler Police Department registered more than 120 residential block and apartment complex parties this year, according to a police department news release.

Last year, Tyler had about 113 block parties citywide.

Michael York, with the Tyler Amateur Radio Club, planned to have a block party at his home, in the 800 block of Joel Drive.

York said he has many friends with the Tyler Fire Department, Tyler Police Department and Emergency Medical Services, and is supportive of the community and the police officers.

This is his fourth year to do a block party.

He said he would have food and expected 12 to 20 attendees.

“You’ll find that some of your neighbors participate (and) some don’t. Some get involved and bring snacks,” he said.

Ultimately, it’s about “neighbors watching out for neighbors,” he said.

“Let each other know if there have been any break-ins. … Or if someone hasn’t been seen. It’s about keeping up with your neighborhood and what’s going on.”

A block party at The Heights of Tyler Rehabilitation and Nursing Center included McGruff the Crime Dog, Kornpop the Klown, music and food.

Various neighborhood residents and businesses participated in the festivities.

Resident Helen Harris said her hope is for everybody to see what’s happening with the neighborhood and crime.

And resident Ruth Griffin said she believes it’s a good idea to let people get to know each other.

“I think it’s just getting everyone in our neighborhood together as a community to help fight crime in the neighborhood,” said Tina Hodges, marketing and admissions director at The Heights of Tyler. “I think it’s just a great thing for all of us to get together to create safer neighborhoods in Tyler.”

Tyler Police community response officer James McCraw said when neighbors communicate, it hopefully lessens the ability for criminals to come into the area.

Neighbors who don’t communicate don’t know who’s supposed to be in their neighborhood, and criminals love when nobody’s calling police about suspicious people, he said.

“I know with myself growing up, my parents got out and communicated with neighbors. We all knew each other in the neighborhood. We all knew names and faces,” he added.

He said Tyler Police is pleased with this year’s numbers and always is looking to encourage people to participate.

“Hopefully it will be better for their neighborhood. … The better you know each other, the better off you’re going to be,” he said.