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Glendale has a night out for safety

Police and community get together to advance the cause of neighborhood safety.

August 06, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Left to right: Tolou Pharokhipanah, 12, and Christina Baltayan, 13, of Toll Middle School dances with the Toll Elite Dance Group during the "30th Annual National Night Out," at the Pacific Community Center in Glendale on Tuesday, August 6, 2013.
Left to right: Tolou Pharokhipanah, 12, and Christina… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

Living more than 20 years in Glendale, Hranush Burmayan has seen the city change dramatically.

Still, as Glendale changes to fit the needs of its shifting population, safety is Burmayan's top concern.

"Safety is the most important thing for the city," she said Tuesday night at Pacific Community Center's National Night Out gathering, an effort dedicated to advancing neighborhood safety.

Burmayan brought her 12-year-old daughter, Lily Keshishyan, who was set to perform at the gathering alongside fellow members of Toll Middle School's elite dance team. While her daughter was dancing, she said the event "was good for the kids, so they know what's going [on] in the city."

The gathering at Pacific Park was one of roughly 50 get-togethers held in various neighborhoods citywide.

The park's event organizers accumulated roughly 150 pounds of fruit, 300 ice cream bars and 500 hot dogs to serve guests, who were also given bicycle safety information.

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This year, organizers focused on increasing bike safety awareness following the death of a 13-year-old Glendale boy who was struck and killed by a school bus as he rode his bicycle in a local neighborhood.

For years, the Glendale Police Department organized a citywide National Night Out gathering.

But in 2008, the police department encouraged residents to host their own neighborhood gatherings.

Police wanted residents to get to know their neighbors and talk about community safety issues. The gatherings also presented officers an opportunity to interact with residents outside of normal police duty.

Community partnership, police said, has been vital in the department's overall crime-fighting efforts.

Rev. Dan Harmon's congregation at First Evangelical Church Glendale began participating in the Pacific Community Center gathering about four years ago as a way to connect with local residents.

"L.A. life is so disconnected already," he said.

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veronica.rocha@latimes.com

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