By Andrew Kramer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – National Night Out isn’t until Tuesday, but the country’s annual community-police awareness raising event got underway a little early in Philadelphia.

Four kickoff rallies were held throughout the city Monday night, including one at Overbrook Park’s Rose Playground.

“We can be safe in our neighborhoods if we all stick together and look out for each other,” Mayor Jim Kenney told the crowd of hundreds there.

Residents and Philadelphia police officers got to mingle in a festive setting full of music, food and games.

“From a police department standpoint it’s always good to see community engagement,” says 12th District Captain DeShawn Beaufort. “It’s one of the things our commissioner is really, really pushing and when we have events of this fashion it gives us the opportunity to do that.”

He says National Night Out also shows that police and neighbors have a lot in common:

“Just recognizing that we’re human beings just like them, we like to have fun just like them, so this is a great event to kind of break down those barriers.”

Anthony Murphy with Town Watch Integrated Services organizes Philadelphia’s National Night Out activities.

“It improves the quality of life in our city, it improves the relationships between residents and it improves the relationships between residents and their police department,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

He says you can expect more events like this throughout August, which is Philadelphia Public Safety Awareness month.