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Parks After Dark Evaluation Report

May 31, 2017

Policy Research Report

Authors: Nadereh Pourat, PhD, Ana E. Martinez, MPH, Leigh Ann Haley, MPP , Petra Rasmussen, MPH, Xiao Chen, PhD

​This is the final evaluation report of the Parks After Dark (PAD) Program. PAD is a Los Angeles County (County) program that began in 2010 as the prevention strategy of the County's Gang Violence Reduction Initiative, and evolved into a key County strategy to promote health, safety, equity, and community well-being that has been adopted into the strategic plans of several County departments and initiatives.

Led by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), PAD is a collaboration of multiple County departments and agencies to invest in community based strategies that provide access to free recreation and resources for youth and adults, helping to build resilient communities and prevent youth from becoming involved in the criminal justice system. PAD keeps parks open late during summer weekend evenings at parks in unincorporated communities of Los Angeles County, and offers a variety of free activities for people of all ages.

Evaluators from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that the PAD program increased access to quality recreational programming and innovative services at County parks in high-need communities; increased collaboration among different stakeholders to provide innovative services at County parks; decreased community violence and increased perception of safety; increased physical activity, and therefore decreased risk of chronic disease; and many other related benefits.

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