Gang Crime Drop Big In ‘Summer Night Lights’ Areas

By EGP News Report

Gang-related crimes plunged 40 percent on average — and more than 80 percent in some areas — around parks and recreation centers that were part of this year’s Summer Night Lights program, it was announced Tuesday.

“Today’s Summer Night Lights has become a crowning achievement in our gang reduction efforts and a source of pride in some of our most crime-ridden communities,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development runs the program operated in 24 of the city’s worst gang-plagued communities.

From Independence Day until Labor Day, Summer Night Lights kept two dozen parks open until midnight on Wednesday through Saturday nights, providing the community with family programs, after-school activities, arts initiatives and athletic leagues.

The program lasted nine weeks, during which gang-related crimes fell 40 percent in the surrounding communities when compared to the same period a year ago, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The LAPD reported that gang-related homicides dropped 57 percent; aggravated assaults, 48 percent; and shots-fired calls, 55 percent. Meanwhile, the number of shooting victims fell 45 percent.

Neighborhoods around six parks registered drops of at least 80 percent in gang-related crime, including in Ramona Gardens and Cypress Park, according to the LAPD.

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October 14, 2010  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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