With the days growing longer and evenings getting warmer, the Los Angeles County
Department of Parks and Recreation, in partnership with the Department of Public
Health, kicked off the enormously popular Parks After Dark (PAD) program at six
Los Angeles County parks on June 20.
With a focus on youth and families, PAD will offer surrounding communities extended
park hours and activities on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m.-10
p.m. through August 17. Activities offered throughout the summer will include
organized sports, classes on such subjects as acting and film, free concerts and
movies, and resource fairs for residents of all ages.
By providing youth and families with positive recreational activities in their
communities, the initiative plays an important part in reducing the likelihood of
participation in at-risk behaviors. Initially implemented in three parks as a
component of the County's Gang Violence Reduction Initiative, the program transforms
areas that have been adversely affected by gang activity into vibrant community
centers that provide health and other resources in locations where residents can
feel safe and secure.
PAD has been highly successful during its first three summers, resulting in
decreased violent crime and high community participation. Between 2010 and 2012,
there were more than 120,000 visits to the PAD parks. A 2012 survey of participants
found that 94% would participate in the program again, and 96% felt safe during the
program. Serious and violent crimes in the communities surrounding the original
three parks declined 40% during the summer months between 2009 and 2012, compared to a 5% increase in serious and violent crime during this period in nearby communities
with parks that did not receive the PAD program.
"Our department's motto is 'Parks Make Life Better!' and Parks After Dark is a
wonderful example of the important role that parks play as a safe, unifying hub in
our communities," said Russ Guiney, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of
Parks and Recreation. "This program is an amazing opportunity for the communities
surrounding PAD parks to take full advantage of resources that are available to
them. It also provides us with a great way to showcase these parks to the people we
serve -- and demonstrate that, while PAD is here for the summer, these facilities
and open spaces are available for their enjoyment and enrichment all year long."
With support from the LA84 Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the Department of Parks and Recreation is partnering with the Department
of Public Health's Choose Health LA initiative at these six parks:
Ted Watkins Memorial Park, 1335 E. 103rd St., LA 90002
City Terrace Park, 1126 N. Hazard Ave., LA 90063
Jesse Owens Community Regional Park, 9651 S. Western Ave., LA 90047
Pamela County Park, 2236 Goodall Ave., Duarte 91010
Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, 7600 Graham Ave., LA 90001
Loma Alta Park 3330 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena 91001
"A safe and welcoming environment is often the biggest barrier for LA County
residents to get the daily recommended level of physical activity," said Jonathan E.
Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "Through this
program, parks provide local youth and families with a variety of recreational
opportunities, health outreach, and social services. Parks After Dark is an
opportunity to get active, move more, and have fun with friends and family while
maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle."
PAD is made possible through a partnership among the Los Angeles County Department
of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Public Health, Choose Health LA, LA84
Foundation, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles County
Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, several other
community partners and the following Los Angeles County agencies: Probation, Public
Library, Department of Community and Senior Services, Human Relations Commission,
Public Defender's Office and the District Attorney's Office. The City of Pasadena
Department of Parks and Recreation has also partnered with Los Angeles County
Department of Parks and Recreation to add PAD to Pasadena parks located near Loma