South Bay : Program Uses Block Parties to Promote Safety in City

Life is a party in Redondo Beach, where city officials promote regular block parties to foster a closer-knit community and help reduce crime.

City officials are encouraging neighborhoods to throw the bashes by loaning them a block party kit that includes road barricades, a barbecue, volleyball nets, folding tables and a helium tank with balloons--all free. The block parties are part of the 1 1/2-year-old Safer Cities program that seeks to make the neighborhood safe through community events. City Manager Bill Kirchhoff said police and fire officials offer to stop by the events to introduce themselves and give lectures on neighborhood safety.

"If you get neighbors together, they're going to be more inclined to be concerned about their neighborhood and get involved in watch programs," said Kirchhoff. "It also gives people in the community a chance to get familiar with each other."

Though residents have been holding block parties for only two months, Kirchhoff said community activism has increased along with the number of Neighborhood Watch patrols

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