Written by Rick Orlov
Gang crime continued to drop in the 32 areas where the city operates its Summer Night Lights program — for which Mayor Eric Garcetti helped raise $1 million to extend the program, city officials announced.
The program, now in its sixth year, has seen a 73 percent drop in gang-related crimes around those parks, no gang homicides and about an 85 percent reduction in shots fired and aggravated assaults.
When he was on the City Council, Garcetti began a program called At the Park After Dark, in which where sports and counseling programs were offered to local youths.
Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa adopted the program as Summer Night Lights and expanded it to parks in the most gang-infested parts of the city.
“As mayor, I decided to extend this year’s programs because the numbers show it works in reducing crime in the communities most affected by gang crime,” Garcetti said. The money he raised kept the program operating an additional three weeks.
Under the program, parks are kept open until 11 p.m. on Wednesdays through Saturdays with tutoring, workshops and meals provided.
During the extensions, officials said more than 85,000 meals were served, 3,000 participated in workshops and more than 137,000 visitors came to the sites.
The program is a public-private partnership that includes donations from foundations and corporations.