September 10, 2008
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says summer anti-gang programs decreased violence
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday credited a new summertime anti-gang program, which included special community events and extended nighttime hours at eight city parks, with a measurable drop in crime in some of the city's most violent neighborhoods.
Between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, the Summer Night Lights program offered special movie nights and other youth- and family-oriented events until midnight four nights a week, during peak time for gang activity and other juvenile-related crime.
"Regardless of where you live, the color of your skin, we all want pretty much the same thing. We want to live, work and play in a safe community free of gang violence," Villaraigosa said at a news conference Monday at the city's Jim Gilliam Park in Baldwin Village.
The mayor emphasized that the drop in crime came during the summer months, when the school break would usually lead to an uptick of criminal activity.
Citywide, Los Angeles has seen an overall drop in crime and during the summer had the fewest number of homicides in more than four decades. From June through August, there were 84 homicides in Los Angeles, the lowest number since 1967 when there were 79 during the same period. [Mark Godsey]
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