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Reducing Violence

An article in today’s LA Times has LA Mayor Villaraigosa crediting a summertime recreation program in parks with a reduction in violent crime.  The Summer Night Lights program offered speical movie nights and other events geared towards at-risk youth until midnight four nights a week during peak time for gang activity.

As the article states, “the communities surrounding the eight parks involved in Summer Night Lights had a 17% drop in violent crime during the summer, compared with the year before. Homicides were down by 86%, and the community surrounding Jim Gilliam Park had no killings, compared with six during the same period last year.”

Two important points. First, the city is gearing programs in its parks towards at-risk youth. And second, it is measuring crime data against the provision of these recreational services. (This matches the practices outlined in the Center for City Park Excellence publication, The Excellent City Park System.)

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