The results are in, and the numbers don't lie: Our 2010 Summer Night Lights was a resounding success, empowering our communities and dramatically reducing gang violence.
In SNL neighborhoods:
Gang-related crime is down 40%
Gang-related homicides are down 57%
And shots fired are down 55%
In short, this summer was the safest Los Angeles has seen in decades.
Today I joined Chief Beck and Councilmember Bernard Parks at Van Ness Rec Center to share this great news, and I couldn't help but think how the park is the perfect example of the power of our SNL program.
Just one summer ago, Van Ness was a battleground for gangs. With intolerable gang-crime, families and children had to live in fear of violence. But this summer, Summer Night Lights set up shop, providing a safe and fun space for the community to talk, laugh, play, dance, and eat. The results? A 54% decrease in gang crime.
Some other stats from 2010 SNL:
The 24 SNL sites received an unbelievable 710,000 visitors, an increase of 260%.
Visitors to SNL sites we served 382,000 free meals.
Kids in SNL neighborhoods were hired for 1000 summer jobs.
Summer Night Lights has become a crowning achievement in our gang reduction efforts, and a source of pride in some of our most crime-ridden communities.
Violence and gang activity won't disappear overnight, and there is still more work to accomplish. But by partnering our police department with our communities, and investing in innovative programs that are proven to reduce violence, we can hope for many more summers where our children, families, and communities can live in safety and security.