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Bright Lights, Less Gangy City? WSJ Looks at LA's Illuminated Parks

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The Wall Street Journal explores the trend of city officials keeping the lights on at parks in an effort to deter nighttime crime. The story focuses on LA, specifically mentioning South LA's Martin Luther King, Jr. park, which keeps floodlights on until midnight. The Summer Night Lights program, of which MLK and 23 other LA parks are a part of, was initiated in 2008 by Mayor Villaraigosa with money from private donations and city funds. "The first summer, the city saw a 17% drop in violent gang-related crimes in the areas surrounding the parks from the previous summer," according to the mayor's office. But some are skeptical that the lights put a dent in anything--LA's overall gang-related crime was going down as crime was dropping around the lit-up parks. "There is absolutely nothing in the criminological literature that has anything to do with lights and no-lights activity," Malcolm Klein, part of the advisory committee for the mayor's Gang Reduction and Youth Development program, told the WSJ. Well to bolster Klein's point, Chicago increased lighting in its alleys and crime actually went up. Regardless, residents still liked more light than less. Image by vin dog via flickr
· LA Uses Light to Fight Crime [WSJ]
· Summer Night Lights [Official Site]