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VAN NUYS : Event Targets Prostitution Problem

July 26, 1994|JEFF SCHNAUFER

How do you make a prostitute see the light?

If you ask Romana Catton, she may well tell you to throw a party.

That's what members of Catton's Chisholm Estates neighborhood watch did Sunday, holding a community block party that raised $318 for the group's prostitution prevention program.

Supported by a raffle, the funds will allow homeowners to buy 10 floodlights to discourage prostitutes from plying their trade in front of their homes.

"The lights go on at dark and stay on until dusk, and the girls don't park where there are lights," Catton said.

With a bluegrass band and international food creating a jubilant atmosphere along Hart and Firmament avenues, the event lured about 150 residents. But Catton credited the Sepulveda Boulevard Business Watch with much of the raffle's success.

About 30 merchants along Sepulveda Boulevard donated $10 to $30 gift certificates for groceries, dinners for two, printing and automotive repair.

"This year, we were very surprised and very pleased to see how the businesses are willing to work with us because they feel like a part of the community," Catton said.

Catton received a plaque from neighborhood block captains for her work bringing security patrols and other crime-fighting tools to her neighborhood, which is situated just off Sepulveda Boulevard, a major thoroughfare for drug dealers and prostitutes.

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