Lighting Fighting Crime

Fighting gang crime in Los Angeles is as easy as leaving the lights on at neighborhood parks.
July 13, 2009, 12pm PDT | Nate Berg
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The Summer Night Lights program operates in a number of parks throughout the city, keeping lights on until midnight to provide a safer public space. The program targets parks in some of the city's most dangerous and crime-prone neighborhoods

"The program began in a modest incarnation last year, when antigang outreach workers raised almost $1 million in private donations to illuminate eight parks. The lights spread to 16 locations on Wednesday, including Harvard. Even amid dire financial straits, city officials have pledged to match $1.4 million in private donations to finance the lights, along with sports leagues, disc jockeys and food four nights a week in the parks through August.

'These neighborhoods with gang problems don't have a lot of assets,' said the Rev. Jeff Carr, who leads the program. 'But there is a school, a park and a rec center. Those are public assets. Let's use those to create social connections that replace gangs.'"

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Published on Saturday, July 11, 2009 in The New York Times
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