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Summer Night Lights

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Gang Reduction & Youth Development
Los Angeles, CA


Key Findings:

  • Gang violence can be reduced by keeping parks open and lit during peak summer night hours
  • Parks that are peak gang activity areas can be transformed into vibrant community spaces after dark with organized activities for at-risk youth and families

Program Details

Summer Night Lights has expanded from 8 parks and recreation centers to 24 in 2010. Located in 12 neighborhoods, or Gang Reduction Youth Development Zones, these parks have become central in Los Angeles’ efforts to reduce violent gang activity. Started in 2008, the Summer Night Lights program was credited with reducing gang violence that year to its lowest level since 1967. The city matched donations from philanthropic institutions to fund a range of entertainment, recreation, education, and artistic activities which take place during peak gang activity hours in the summer between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m. These activities serve as a diversion from criminal activities for youth living in these areas and help build social connections that replace gangs. Gang intervention workers are assigned to moderate gang disputes and ensure that there are cease-fires at Summer Night Lights parks. This strategy has become a nationally recognized success story for both reducing violence and building communities for safer cities.

Program goals/issues addressed:

  • Reduce Gang violence
  • Build Community
  • Provide recreational and educational opportunities for at-risk youth
  • Make city parks safer

Organization Description:

Mayor Antonio R Villaraigosa’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development aims to provide safe, clearly identified spaces where at risk-youth and their families can receive unconditional support, services, and counseling. They combine crime suppression with prevention and intervention services aimed at ending cycles of gang violence.

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Partnerships:

  • Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development
  • Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks
  • Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • A Better LA

Annual Program Budget and Funding Sources:

$1 million in private donations in 2008 matched by the city
$1.4 million in private donations in 2009 matched by the city
$2.1 million in private donations in 2010

Results Achieved (2010):

  • 55% fewer shots fired
  • 57% reduction in gang related homicides
  • 45% fewer victims shot
  • 710,000 participants
  • 382,000 meals served
  • 1,000 jobs created
  • 24 parks and recreation centers

Contact Information:

Adrienne Newsom, Esq.
The GRYD Foundation
6080 Center Drive, #600
Los Angeles, CA  90045
(310) 242-5674

 

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