DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Crime scene tape blocked off traffic along Sima Avenue in McDougald Terrace, but there's no investigation and Durham Police aren't looking for a suspect. It's National Night Out and for many in this community, the event has a much deeper purpose than the face painting and dancing.
"The kids will be able to interact with them. They can see the police and see them doing positive things," said resident Ashley Canady.
Officers were there engaging and strengthening its ties with this community.
McDougald Terrace is no stranger to gun violence and sometimes interactions between law enforcement and residents here can be tense.
"In the past there was more animosity, but that's because the dialog wasn't ongoing. There have been tremendous strides. Real strides forward," said resident Laura Betye.
According to the Durham Housing Authority, McDougald Terrace was built in 1953 and has 346 units. As it stands now,318 families live there. This is a community where the median income is $4,608. Local organizations like Bull City United shared how poverty and gun violence go hand in hand.
"A lot of people that's poverty-struck, they want things they can't afford. That translates to them going to do whatever they feel they need to do to get it, whether its breaking into somebody stuff, robbing somebody," said Reshaun Cates with Bull City United.
That's why Tuesday night is so special. Local organizations and police came together to show children living there the educational opportunities available to them just on the other side of Lawson Avenue.
"We are vested in the Durham community and we want to see nothing but excellence come from the Durham community. We're here taking the charge and embracing mission. We want to just be here," Pamela R. Hester, Durham NCCU Alumni Association President said.