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SoCal unites against crime

August 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Communities came together across the nation, and the Southland, Tuesday night. It was an evening to make a statement against crime on "National Night Out."In Los Angeles, Tuesday's events were more than symbolic. The city and residents are saying there is a real reason to celebrate.

"We can't be afraid anymore. You know what I mean? We're losing our self respect and our self esteem with our youngsters and all the riff-raff that goes around," said North Hollywood resident Lance Negroni. "We want it to go away."

In North Hollywood, the celebration came on the heels of a fatal shooting. Edward Satterstrom, 16, was shot to death on Saturday near a Taco Bell restaurant.

"It's a senseless murder. And we hope that we can send the message that lives are worth saving," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Wendy Greuel.

Greuel says the residents of North Hollywood are the key to making the community safer.

"Tonight people are here together to say, 'We're going to save lives and we're going to improve the quality of the life of our neighborhoods,'" said Greuel.

In Hollywood, the music and food brought hundreds of families together in a show of solidarity against crime.

"We all work to make our neighborhood a better place to live. We believe it's our job," said East Hollywood resident Israel Stepanian.

In South Los Angeles, the annual event at the Newton Division enjoyed record crowds.

According to city leaders, there is reason for optimism. The mayor and the chief of Police say crime rates in Los Angeles have hit historic lows.

"Thanks to a remarkable July, the murder rate has reversed course, decreasing more than five percent so far this year," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa.

Mayor Villaragosa says all categories of violent and property crimes are down this year, compared to the same time last year.

 

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