City Council President Herb Wesson recently bestowed City Hall honors on the city’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) and commended them on the success of their “Summer Night Lights” program.
“GRYD and Summer Night Lights have become important resources in our continuing efforts to reduce the impact of gangs on the life of our communities,” said Wesson.
“They’ve done a great job. They deserve our recognition and our appreciation.”
Summer Night Lights is an anti-gang initiative that keeps parks open after dark, during peak hours for gang activity, with free food and expanded programming. By empowering communities and targeting the traditionally most violent summer months, Summer Night Lights has become a national model for violence reduction.
Under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Guillermo Cespedes, husband of KJLH’s Dominique Diprima, the GRYD has identified 12 geographic areas (GRYD Zones) with the highest rates of violent gang activity. Summer Night Lights (SNL) currently operates in 24 participating parks located within these neighborhoods.
An analysis of crime data shows that in areas adjacent to parks with SNL programs there were 57 percent fewer homicides over two years and 18 percent less violent crime over four years; gang related crimes over four years fell 33 percent. Shots fired near SNL parks decreased 55 percent, and victims shot reduced 45percent.
Wesson praised the work of Summer Night Lights, especially in his Council District 10, where the program has operated successfully in Jim Gilliam Park.
“GRYD and the Summer Night Lights program have made a big difference in my district,” said Wesson. “And they are making a big difference all across our city.”