One year ago, as we were faced with the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the long unemployment lines brought a forecast of rising crime rates. But despite all of this, our unparalleled commitment to public safety helped the City of Los Angeles lower its crime rate. Our City continues to experience the lowest crime rate in over 50 years, and the lowest number of homicides since 1967.
From the Valley to Boyle Heights -- from West LA to South LA -- the results have proven indisputable. In 2009, violence in our neighborhoods continued to decline, gang crime declined, and less Angelenos were victims of robbery or assault. Angelenos have reaped the benefits of a comprehensive crime strategy that has put more cops in our communities and more resources on our neighborhoods. This strategy has given the department the numbers it needs to engage the communities they serve.
Last year, we also expanded the successful Summer Night Lights program to keep the lights on at 16 parks in some of our most vulnerable communities. This program keeps at-risk youth active and out of trouble.
We have made great strides, yet more needs to be done to ensure that not one more Angeleno is the victim of a serious crime. Nothing is more valuable than keeping our streets safe and our neighborhoods secure; safety is the cornerstone of our economic prosperity and the base for the Los Angeles we want for future generations.