‘Summer Night Lights’ Anti-Gang Program Expanding From 16 To 24 Parks

(Daily News Wire)

June 28, 2010

The number of Los Angeles parks included in an anti-gang program credited with helping the city record its safest summer in 40 years will be expanded from 16 to 24, officials announced today.

The two dozen parks — in Los Angeles’ most troubled neighborhoods — will be open until midnight this summer, to provide sports and recreational activities aimed at luring youths away from gangs.

“Summer Night Lights is a crucial part of our broader strategy to invest in another summer of hope for our youth, and safety for our families,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a news conference in Highland Park.

The program will run from July 7-Sept. 4, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It will the following parks: Cypress, Glassell, Hubert Humphrey, Imperial Courts, Jackie Tatum Harvard, Jim Gilliam, Jordan Downs, Lemon Grove, Mt. Carmel, Nickerson Gardens, Ramon Garcia, Ramona Gardens, Ross Snyder, Sepulveda, Costello, Delano, Highland Park, Lake Street, Normandale, Van Ness, Martin Luther King, Slauson, South and Valley Plaza.

Last year, Summer Night Lights kept 16 parks across the city open until midnight, allowing youths to participate in basketball and soccer tournaments; workshops in acting, music, dance, fashion; aerobics classes; and film screenings.

The program ran for nine weeks — from Independence Day through Labor Day — at a cost of about $2.8 million, or an average of $255,000 for each park. Half of the money came from private foundations, and the rest came from the city.

Run by the mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development, Summer Night Lights began with eight parks in 2008.

That year, gang crime in the surrounding neighborhoods dropped 17 percent; homicides declined by 86 percent; and aggravated assaults by 23 percent, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officials said it was city’s safest summer since 1967.

The City Council’s now defunct Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence estimated that Los Angeles is home to 400 gangs with 39,000 members — 10 percent of whom are responsible for about 80 percent of all the crimes in the city.

Aside from Summer Nights Lights, Villaraigosa’s anti-gang strategy also includes contracting with so-called gang interventionists to provide crisis management after a gang shooting, negotiate cease-fires, and reconcile rival gangs. It also provides after-school and job training programs for at-risk youth and gang members.

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1 Comment for “‘Summer Night Lights’ Anti-Gang Program Expanding From 16 To 24 Parks”

  1. […] ‘Summer Night Lights’ Anti-Gang Program Expanding From 16 To 24 Parks (Daily News Wire) June 28, 2010 The number of Los… […]

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