Gardena to celebrate National Night Out

Community members gather at the 2019 National Night Out in Gardena.

12th anniversary to see event at new site

By Michael Axt

For its 12th year, the Gardena Police Department will stage its annual National Night Out in conjunction with cities across the country Aug. 6 in a town hall vigil for “community – and – law enforcement” unity on the front lawn of City Hall, instead of its traditional Target Store parking lot. Hours are 7 to 9 p.m.

GPD Chief Thomas Kang is slated to field a question-and-answer, call-and-response session with the “neighborhood watchers” and concerned citizens.

“This is a great event to build relationships and neighborhood camaraderie. This is one of my favorite events of the year, ” Kang said.

City dignitaries from Mayor Tasha Cerda, City Manager Ed Medrano, and city council and district Members are anticipated to greet address and mingle with the town hall vigil’s crowd

“In the past, we have had no problems, and there have been approximately 300 citizens attending,” said GPD Officer Luis Villanueva, coordinator for Gardena 2019 NNO. “We invite our citizens to join forces to let criminals know that Gardena is a united force against crime.”

According to Kang and Gardena crime analysts, crime is down in Gardena so far this year in.

First implemented by Matt Peskins in 1984 as a “lights on vigil,” NNO has been an annual community town hall event for 36 years and its mission statement declares that one of its main resolutions is to “inform the public about police and community programs, including drug prevention initiatives, town watch organizations and how to burglar-proof the house.

In unison with 15,000 communities in 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide, the CIty of Gardena will embark on its NNO on the first Tuesday in August.

In a family-oriented, block party atmosphere, the GPD community celebration will offer carnival rides, a SWAT team demonstration, raffles, food booths and an opening flag drill by the Explorers, who are a police-sponsored organization of teens and young adults working toward a career in law enforcement

NNO is an effective public relations facet of “community policing” a philosophy in law enforcement where officers patrol and work in the same area on a permanent basis and working in a proactive partnership with citizens, neighborhood watch

During the two-hour Night Out celebration, Kang will elaborate on revalent themes, including how to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participate in local anti-crime efforts, send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back as well as how to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community partnerships

For more information, contact GPD community affairs coordinator Erika McLeod at 310-217-9689 or email