Efforts to mitigate impact of social, economic inequalities

LAPD officer runs with children at Harvard Recreation Center in South Los AngelesBy American Heart Association News

Harvard Park has seen its fair share of gang violence. For years, things were so bad that residents of the South Los Angeles neighborhood feared running errands.

Longtime resident Ellen Pace was even reluctant to exercise at the city park across the street from her home. But today she’s able to exercise there with neighbors and crime is down, largely because the Los Angeles Police Department assigned officers to the park last year.

Around the same time, the American Heart Association launched a program in the neighborhood called Community STEPS, with the acronym standing for Strategic dialogue That’s Empowered by Public Safety. Pace said the weekend walks with police officers, cooking demonstrations, blood pressure screenings and other wellness activities offered at the Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center have been “like icing on the cake.”

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