As the summer heat continues to rise and August looms as one of the hottest months of the summer, documentation indicates that over 85% of all violent crimes are committed while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control also indicate that alcohol abuse and hot weather can trigger violent behavior, causing an increased number of altercations and fights.
With gang warfare continuing to decimate communities in Southern California, keeping tempers cool could mean the difference between life and death.
Two grass roots organizations are making an effort to keep residents cool this summer. Members of Second Call and the Cease Fire Committee will distribute 1,000 bottles of water during its “Safe and Sober Summer Campaign” to residents every Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. throughout Los Angeles city and county.
“We are hoping that this campaign will help to quell fights and gang violence in our community,” said Taco, one of the organizers of the campaign. “We want to divert people from drinking alcohol which could escalate into violent behavior.”
To kick off the “Safe and Sober Summer Campaign,” Cease Fire members walked through neighborhoods in South Los Angeles, talking to residents and spreading the message to “stay cool this summer.”
“A lot of people were excited and glad that we were handing out the water,” said Cease Fire and Second Call member Skipp Townsend, who said that 25 cases of water were distributed. “We even met a few people who were walking down the street with cans of alcohol in their hands and we were able to persuade them to put the alcohol down and accept a bottle of water instead.”
Members of Cease Fire said that they even encountered several gang members who were poised to fight at Lauren Miller Park. “We were able to talk to them. Just being there and offering them water helped to cool off the atmosphere,” said Townsend, who said that the fight was diverted.
The next safe and sober walk will be held this Sunday starting at 6 p.m. in Compton at the corner of Alondra and Central Avenues.
The Cease Fire Committee is seeking volunteers and donations of water. People interested in participating should attend the Cease Fire meeting on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Bethel AME Church located at 7900 S. Western Ave. in Los Angeles. To contact the Cease Fire Committee, call Skipp Townsend at (310) 916-1902 or Vicky Lindsey at (310) 764-0165.