Published Date: July 31, 2023

Summary:  In this report, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research provides information from their evaluation of the 2022 Parks After Dark (PAD) program in Los Angeles County. 

PAD is a Los Angeles County initiative led by the Department of Parks and Recreation, in partnership with other County departments and community-based organizations. Thirty-four DPR parks hosted PAD between June and August 2022, after a two-year halt in programming because of the COVID-19 pandemic. PAD was offered three nights a week for eight weeks, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. 

The evaluation findings demonstrate that PAD succeeded in making progress towards achieving its goals by provision of recreational programming in areas of Los Angeles County with high rates of crime and burden of disease. PAD programs included free sports, entertainment, and other activities for children and adults in a safe space for communities with few such opportunities and resources. Evidence indicated that PAD contributed to feelings of well-being, family togetherness, and social cohesion; may have reduced crime in PAD parks and their surrounding areas; and may have reduced the burden of disease for attendees that participated in sports and exercise opportunities. Contributors to these results were cross-sector collaboration between multiple departments in Los Angeles County and governmental funds and resources provided to parks to successfully implement PAD in the summer months. 



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