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Summer Program Provides Safe Environment for Kids of South Sacramento

 SOUTH SACRAMENTO -- Many kids who call one South Sacramento neighborhood home are looking for a safe space to be on summer nights.

"When I was little I viewed this neighborhood as an unsafe neighborhood," said Chris Cooper. "As a ghetto neighborhood."

Some know the area near Center Parkway and Mack Road as "South Sac Iraq."

Cooper said the name originates from a grim statistic. For 14 to 23-year-old's living there, the leading cause of death is homicide.

Summer Night Lights is offering an environment where good memories can be made for the children of Sacramento.

For 14 weeks, from June until September, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., around 400 kids have a place to go and have fun. The program offers free food, music and sports.

In the first year of the program business robberies were down 50 percent, assaults were down 100 percent and there were no homicides in the neighborhood during the program hours.

For more information on the nightly program, visit the Mack Road Partnership site.