Tuesday, March 2, 2010
L.A's Summer Night Lights
More good news out of Los Angeles, a place some associate with gang wars and rampant crime. Think again.
A few blogs ago we read about the Vermont Knolls neighborhood in L.A. where locals changed their locale for the better. In that case - in very SafeGrowth-like fashion - a whole menu of physical and social ingredients did the trick. I found another LA example, this time triggered by lighting.
There is a long debate in the 1st Generation CPTED and target-hardening world about whether lighting creates crime or crushes it. In SafeGrowth we've always said the diagnosis of the context is what matters. Lights on or off is not a one-size-fits-all story.
I came across this NY Times story about an experiment in eight Los Angeles parks to light them up at night time to reduce crime. And the Summer Night Lights program seems to work, especially in places with gang problems where gang-bangers hang out in dark park areas.
Apparently, when park lights were turned on there was an 86% decline in homicides and 17% drop in gang-related violence in and near the parks. It probably didn't hurt that other ingredients were added, such as job stimulus funds for hiring at-risk teens to help with the program. Still...some pretty impressive results.
Check it out:
LA's Summer Night Lights