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Mayor kicks off Summer Night Lights

Public parks host events to reduce crime and violence

OW Staff Writer | 7/3/2014, midnight

Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Youth Squad members, recently kicked off the start of the seventh year of the Summer Night Lights (SNL) program.

Summer Night Lights is an expanded series of evening events in 32 public parks located in areas with high rates of violent crimes. SNL, along with Summer of Learning and Hire L.A. Youth, is part of Mayor Garcetti’s Summer of Success initiative for the city of Los Angeles.

“As a city councilmember, I created a program in 2007 called ‘At the Park After Dark’ that served as a model for Summer Night Lights,” Garcetti said. “It has transformed communities once plagued by gang violence and provides safety and opportunity for L.A.’s youth during the critical summer months.”

SNL was launched in 2008 and keeps city parks open until 11 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, for six weeks during the summer. The program provides activities for at-risk youth and their families, job opportunities, and a safe place to spend the summer evenings.

Last year, Garcetti raised $1 million within a month of taking office to extend the 2013 Summer Night Lights program an additional four weeks. This year, SNL will again be extended four weeks on Fridays and Saturdays at all 32 sites.

Summer Night Lights will continue to run through Aug. 9 from 7-11 p.m. and on Friday-Saturday, Aug. 15 to Sept. 5 from 7-11 p.m.

For details, visit www.lamayor.org/SNL.

During the 2013 four-week extension, gang-related crime dropped significantly in the areas around the 32 sites:

• 73.1 percent reduction in gang-related crime

• 100 percent reduction in gang-related homicides

• 87.5 percent reduction in shots fired

• 85.7 percent reduction in victims shot

• 83.3 percent reduction in aggravated assaults

During the extension, 85,636 meals were served, 3,000 people participated in workshops, and an estimated 137,018 visits were made to the 32 sites.

Summer Night Lights also provides at-risk youth with the opportunity for employment and professional development. Youth Squad members undergo training on a variety of relevant topics prior to the start of Summer Night Lights and receive a stipend for their work implementing the programs. Over the course of the 2013 program, an estimated 1,097 jobs were created, including 320 jobs for Youth Squad Members ages 17-24. The total crime cost savings to the city of Los Angeles was $9.6 million.

Summer Night Lights is funded in part by the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization focused on creating partnerships between the city of Los Angeles and the private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors.