Hidden Valley says unity is the goal during National Night Out - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Hidden Valley says unity is the goal during National Night Out

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Weather beaten stuffed animals mark the exact spot of a murder that happened here three weeks ago.

It is the place where a Charlotte woman was gunned down during the middle of the afternoon in a car on the I-85 service road near North Tryon Street.

Jerrold Thomas set up a barber shop in his old neighborhood to make a point.

He said, "I grew up in Hidden Valley and I went to Hidden Elementary, and Northeastern and Myers Park from that area."

Whenever there's a deadly act of violence near the corridor that runs between Sugar Creek and North Tryon , nearby businesses feel the frustration.

Workers at the Sunset Inn have experienced gun violence from both sides. That's where Ricky Patel who owns the hotel has felt the pain.

"We had a second armed robbery. My employee got hit and my mom got shot," Patel said.

Not everyone has given up on the intersection of I-85 and Sugar Creek, several months a second Chicken Box restaurant opened up.

However, dreams of success for manager Sharon Faust require steps of prevention. She said, "A lot of restaurants are trying to get together as a team to see what we can do to bring this community back in a good area."

Team work is one of the goals of well publicized events like National Night Out.

Saundra Jackson, a co-chair for the event, said unity is key to fighting crime.

"If everyone gets together, and if everyone is on the same page, that we can make anything happen," she said. "If everyone gets together, and if everyone is on the same page, that we can make anything happen."

Mecklenburg County's District Attorney Andrew Murray agrees. He spent about an hour at in Hidden Valley Tuesday to show neighbors the D-A is on their side.

"It's important for them to know that I'm part of this community,." he pointed out. "I live in this community. My kids have been raised in this community. I'm concerned about crime like everybody else."

But crime is only part of the story, says Mayor Patsy Kinsey. Hidden Valley was also her first stop Tuesday night.

"A lot of the crime unfortunately in this neighborhood -- as a lot of the other neighborhoods -- comes from the outside," she said. "It's not inside. It's not the people who live here. The people who live here are great people. They're good neighbors to each other."

At Tom Hunter Park near Hidden Valley, neighborhood gatherings can bring closeness, and back at the barber shop Jerrold Thomas hopes the momentum will pick up.

"I think National Night Out is good, but at the same time after national night it needs it needs to continue," Thomas said.

National Night Out celebrated it's 30th anniversary this year. 37.5 million people in 15,704 communities in all 50 states were expected to participate.

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