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Blog Post

Summer Night Lights

This summer marks the 8th year of the Office’s participation in the City of Los Angeles Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) Summer Night Lights program. Summer Night Lights (SNL) is a successful, nationally recognized anti-violence project in Los Angeles. SNL programs operate during the summer months in 32 parks and recreation centers throughout the city. A fundamental purpose of the program is to keep neighborhood parks open late into the night as safe havens of activities for young people and their families.

In 2011, at the behest of the City, the United States Attorney’s Office “adopted” the Summer Night Lights site located at Jim Gilliam Park and Recreation Center in the Baldwin Village neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Jim Gilliam Park was selected because South Los Angeles had a long history of high crime rates and gang violence and the Office volunteers wanted to make an impactful contribution to violence prevention in the neighborhood. In 2016, the Office added the Highland Park Recreation Center as a second site to provide more volunteer opportunities for USAO AUSAs and staff.

Each of the past 8 years, USAO personnel have volunteered at the parks, working side-by-side with GRYD staff, helping to run a variety of activities for local youth, including basketball games, a skateboard park, arts and crafts tables, dinner and ice cream stations and a popular face-painting station for kids.

This year, dozens of USAO volunteers attended summer night events at both parks, volunteering with the community and making a difference to the neighborhoods we serve in the Central District of California.

The positive results in each community have been significant. The City’s statistics indicate that crime rates in the Baldwin Village neighborhood typically drop during the Summer Night Lights program. Beyond statistics, United States Attorney’s Office volunteers have reported that the park and neighborhood have become safer every year that they have volunteered in the community. Perhaps most importantly, this outreach project provides an ongoing platform for community members, federal prosecutors and office staff to meet and engage outside the confines of the federal courthouse.

Updated January 20, 2021

Topic
Community Outreach