DALLAS – Hundreds of neighborhood groups and crime watch associations are gathering in locations across Dallas for the 2016 National Night Out.

The annual program uses block parties and special events to promote positive community and police relationships.

During National Night Out, neighbors are encouraged to turn on their porch lights and come out of their homes to meet one another.

Neighbors in the Red Bird Meadows area of South Oak Cliff are amogn those participating in National Night Out events.

Curtis Chaney and Arthur Allen are members of the Red Bird Meadows Crime Watch Association. The men say they’ve watched their community change for the better however, tackling some challenges remains an ongoing issue.

”We did have some crime,” Allen explained, “there was not a lot of police presence at that particular time, because we did not have that rapport with them.”

Allen is president of the Red Bird Meadows Crime Watch Association. It is a relatively new group that is working to deal with some neighborhood nuisances.

Members of the crime watch group say they have been working with police to crack down on issues like loitering, blight, robberies, and some shady business operations.

Allen said, ”I think the most important thing was to build a relationship with the community and the police department.”

Building relationships between neighbors and police has worked in this community, so far.

Red Bird Meadows Crime Watch Association will be among a few groups getting a chance to meet Attorney General Loretta Lynch during their National Night Out event.

Lynch is on a Community and Police Relationship tour that launched in Dallas this week.

Some local activists are planning to stage a protest during that event. They are blasting the Attorney General for failing to contact and meet with social justice groups who have been pressing the City of Dallas for police reform.

Chaney and his neighbors say they support Lynch’s visit.

”With the problem we had a couple of months ago, I think it’s excellent,” Chaney said. “I’m glad to see her in town.”

The Attorney General is a special guest for the District 8 National Night Out Event. It will be held on the University of North Texas at Dallas campus from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.