By Dennis J. Freeman, Contributor
The activity just outside of the Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center and the Carson Sheriff’s Station was brisk with pedestrian traffic as residents took part in the Community Night Out on Aug. 7.
The march and rally featured dozens of vendors. Starbucks handed out free cups of coffee. The Los Angeles County Library passed out books to grade-level students. J.C. Penny’s, a staple at the nearby SouthBay Pavilion Mall, staged periodic giveaways during the two-plus-hour event.
“The larger issue is making the community safer,” Capt. Jason Skeen of the Carson Sheriff’s Station said.
“We’ve been doing this for 19 years, and done an amazing job,” Skeen said. “This is probably one of the most successful National Night Out events that you’ll see in Southern California. We have nearly 80 vendors. Typically, more than 500 people from the community come.
“That’s pretty important; it tells you…part of our success has been the reduced rate in crime and community involvement and having the support of elected officials. We are on a 27-year low of crime in 2018. In 2019, is shaping to be even better so far. We’re only halfway through, but reduction in homicides by 40 percent, robberies by more than 20 percent, auto thefts are down, burglaries are down.”
Skeen attributes the lowering of crime rate in the city to one big factor.
“Trust,” Skeen said. “Trust is vital. When there is trust and the deputies know that they’re trusted, they’ll work that much harder for the community. That’s part of it…When they trust the deputies, they’re going to call, they’re going to report, they’re going leave better tips, they’ll be willing to hand over evidence like video, and they’re not going to be compromised in terms of their safety. That’s trust.”
It was a pleasant family atmosphere. MB Landscaping was surrounded by large crowd of people trying to nab free garden plants. Angel Amor-Smart, owner of Bossy Bundts, provided residents with samples of her cakes.
The Laker Girls were there. Fred Jefferson Memorial Homes was recruiting more foster parents. First Break Academy registered people for its Saturday tennis classes. There was a petting zoo and a train ride for youths.
State Farm account manager Gilbert Nieves said this event is vital to the community.
“It’s very important,” Nieves said. “Carson seems to have a lot of community outreach programs, a lot of community support. Its important for people to support one another. We do this event every year, so we like to come out here and support the community and help people out with their insurance needs if they need it and be part of the community.”
Julian Soto, general manager for a boxing and fitness club bearing the likeness and name of boxing great Floyd Mayweather, was out to promote the gym to residents. Right now, the majority of the club membership in its only other edifice in Beverly Hills are women, Soto said.
“We’re here today to share awareness with the community that we’re going to basically open up soon,” Soto said. “We’re still undergoing construction, so we’re going to be opening in about a month-and-a-half. It’s basically incorporating boxing with Mayweather’s technique and style. What got him 50-0, basically from his combo punches, his techniques. The way he trained is basically how we train our members in a group-style setting. What we’re implementing is more on the fitness end of it.”