National Night Out draws Southland crowds

LOS ANGELES The event is aimed at promoting crime prevention and drug prevention awareness and strengthening relations between neighborhoods and police agencies. Last year, an estimated 36 million people participated in National Night Out.

The /*Los Angeles Police Department*/ will hold events throughout the city including Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollenbeck, Eagle Rock, Chinatown, West Los Angeles and Northridge.

Events were also held in Pomona, San Gabriel, Hawaiian Gardens and Gardena. National Night Out is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch.

As the sun set in China Town, the community slowly ventured out with music, good food, karate and a little bit of culture. It was Los Angeles' way of marking its night out against crime.

"I've lived here for 25 years and it's like seeing it from a different perspective," said Richard Kuhlman of L.A. "This is really welcoming to just walk around these streets."

"It just brings out the positive in everybody," Boyle Heights resident Fernanda Schneider. "It brings power and unites us all."

After 26 years, officers said these gatherings have made a difference as crime is down and trust of police is growing every time they get together.

"For eight years straight, crime is down," said Los Angeles Mayor /*Antonio Villaraigosa*/. "We're safer today than any time since 1952 in no small part because of our community."

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