Joint City-County Program Aims To Reduce Harbor Gateway Gang Violence

(KPCC)

June 9, 2010

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today approved $112,500 in funding for a joint city-county program to reduce gang violence in the Harbor Gateway area.

County and City of Los Angeles administrators will work with nonprofit A Better LA to sponsor a Summer Night Lights program at the Normandale Recreation Center. The city and county each plan to contribute $112,500 to the effort.

Summer Night Lights is intended to create safe environments in communities most affected by gang-related violence during peak hours — 7 p.m. to midnight in the summer months.

The program offers free recreational, arts and educational activities — including basketball and handball for adults. The offerings are geared to reach the entire neighborhood, including both potential victims and potential perpetrators.

The Summer Night Lights program was first launched by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2008. Sixteen sites were included in last summer’s program — half in or near South Los Angeles.

There was a 17 percent drop in violent gang-related crime and an 86 percent reduction in gang-related homicides in the communities with the night recreational programs, Villaraigosa claimed.

The county will launch its own Parks After Dark program at three county parks this summer: Ted Watkins Memorial Park near Watts, Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in the Florence-Firestone area and Pamela Park in Duarte.

County staffers will also offer access to health, mental health, child care and other county resources at scheduled events at each of the three parks, as well as at Normandale in Harbor Gateway and Hubert H. Humphrey Memorial Park in Pacoima.

Summer Night Lights and Parks After Dark will begin July 7 and run three or four nights per week, depending on location, until Sept. 4.

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