Knoxville (WVLT) - Knoxville neighborhoods gave crime and drugs a going away party Tuesday night. The more than 30 get togethers were part of the 24th annual National Night Out.
It's a way for people from all walks of life to share their concerns about their safety.
And as Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy explains a night that hits especially close to home for one community.
Johnia berry murdered three years ago, but neighbors say the same rise in crime that happened just before murder is back. This time, they're not going to take it.
"You know, I always have a struggle with this, but I did want to help others, and there's so much to be done," Berry's mother, Joan Berry, said.
The fliers...the buttons...the pictures. Pieces of paper turned pieces of hope for Joan Berry.
"She was murdered in Brendan Park just next door," Berry said.
Her daughter, Johnia, stabbed to death nearly three years ago. The killer was never caught, and Tuesday night, Joan is back on Parktop Lane.
"This is America's night out," Berry said.
A nationwide event for neighborhoods to talk with law enforcement. Their goal is to kick crime out of their homes, but for Joan it's another chance to spread the word.
"We truly need leads in Johnia's case," Berry said.
And neighbors say the rise in crime that happened just before Johnia's murder is happening again.
"There's a lot of burglaries as far as cars are concerned," neighbor Remonda Swafford said.
But now they refuse to sit in fear like before.
"A lot of us slept in front of our doors on air mattresses to make sure that we weren't broken into at night," Swafford said.
Since Johnia Berry's murder, the neighborhood's got a new six foot fence. They've also got new lights, but neighbors say it's getting together on nights like this that will make the difference.
"Knowing one another and being able to tell your neighbors from someone who just happens to be scouting out your car or house makes a big difference," Swafford said.
But for Joan, the big difference will be when whoever took her daughter away from her is caught.
"It's just something I wake up in the morning thinking about everyday," Berry said.
And she won't. No matter what.
"My life has changed. I will be sad for---till the day I die. I want justice," Berry said.
If you have any information regarding Johnia Berry's murder, you should call the Knox County Sheriff's Office at 215-2243.
Not all the neighborhood events in Knoxville were so serious. We stopped the Bennet Place neighborhood. They had a pizza party with KPD.
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