FROM Skipp Townsend
Gang borders in Los Angeles In Los Angeles, streets, freeways, train tracks and the LA River form boundaries that many of us aren’t aware of. These are the boundaries of gang territories. Back in the 1970s through the ‘90s, just wearing red or blue was contentious. It could have even made you a target. The colors were, and still are in some parts of LA, flags for the Crips and Bloods, LA’s two dominant gangs. And back then, the neighborhoods of South and East Los Angeles could have drawn their gang territories. Things have cooled down a bit because of gang injunctions and safety zones. Lots of families have been priced out of their neighborhoods, moving further away from the urban core. And some of the action has moved off the street and gone online. But, there are still certains parts of LA where gang borders form “invisible walls” that delineate who goes where and who does what. Without clear markings, many LA residents don’t even know these barriers exist. But these boundary lines are there and they carry a lot of weight for the residents who live among them. Like Skipp Townsend, who was born and raised in West Adams in South LA. For many years he was a member of the Rollin 20s Bloods. He’s now a gang interventionist. And he says people in the communities where he works are well aware of the gang boundaries. “You have to be aware of where you are at all times. I mean your life depends on it. So knowing what area you’re in, knowing what gas station you stop at, knowing what liquor store you're in, even watching the cars as they roll down the street and being able to identify certain people. That's always how a person stays alive, you know, just having your head on a swivel,” Townsend said. Townsend isn’t alone in being concerned with the price you pay for living within gang boundaries. “If I'm a young person growing up in a particular neighborhood and the closest movie theater or the closest shopping mall is claimed by a rival gang, whether I'm a gang member or not, I'm not going to feel comfortable, I'm going to have to spend more time on a bus, put more gas in my car, to travel to other areas,” said George Tita, a gang criminologist at UC-Irvine. Alex Alonso is an adjunct professor at Cal State University-Long Beach. He has mapped the overlay of gang boundaries on the map of Los Angeles. “I noticed that the built environment does play a role in defining these gang neighborhoods. When I say the built environment I'm talking about primary roads, your large streets, your freeways, highways and train tracks and rivers. You know, very rarely are you going to find a gang turf on two sides of the L.A. River,” he said. And patrolling these invisible walls is no longer confined to the streets. It’s also gone digital. Alonso founded StreetGangs.com, a venue for news, videos, history and chat forums all relating to gang activity across the US. Alonso has seen social media impact gang life. “Rather than getting on the phone and talking, basically social media and the Internet is the phone now. The beef is now being facilitated through a different manner, through a different tool,” Alonso said. “I don't think it takes away from the physical space. The physical space is what gives the gang its existence. Without that physical territory you pretty much don't have an identity.” Alex Alonso, gang researcher and founder of StreetGangs.com. Photo credit: Avishay Artsy.
What’s the State of Police-Community Relations in LA? Former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton is credited with bringing a community policing approach to the LAPD, a department that, before his arrival in 2002, had been notorious for its poor relationship with the city’s minority communities. Chief Charlie Beck has continued and expanded the community policing policy. At an LAPD graduation ceremony Friday, Chief Beck told new police recruits to have empathy for those they with whom they come into contact. What’s the state of police-community relations in Los Angeles? A gang interventionist tells us about his involvement with LAPD’s efforts to improve community relations in South LA.
The Legality of Gang Injunctions The City of L.A. has agreed to pay $30 million in a lawsuit over its gang injunctions. We hear from the lawyer representing gang members and from a gang interventionist and former gang member.
Making L.A.: Policing The LAPD has received a lot of praise for reducing crime and improving relations with minority communities. But so far, violent crime is actually up 26 percent this year. The national conversation about police shootings has also touched LA. So far this year, Los Angeles police have shot 21 people: nearly one a week. Today, in the latest installment of our Making L.A. series, we look at policing in Los Angeles.
Gang Violence and Demographic Change Earlier this week, we reported that a black family with no gang connections was driven out of its new home in Compton. Two members of a Latino gang have been arrested, and sheriff's deputies are looking for more suspects. The incident was especially shocking to some people, because Compton historically was a black city. Now it's 65 percent Latino.
Shaking up the USDA, 'The Beef Cookbook' and 'Tartine All Day' Peggy Lowe explains why Trump’s pick for USDA Secretary is rattling rural America. Dario Cecchini talks future plans for Chianti ramen, and Richard Turner shares cuts from “PRIME: The Beef Cookbook.” Writer Matthew Sedacca looks at the controversy behind liquid smoke. Jonathan Gold tries Chengdu-style dishes, and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine fills us in on the latest. Plus, chef Michael Beckman shares a recipe for cactus confit.
In 'Speechless,' Scott Silveri combines comedy, family & disability Scott Silveri has written and produced sitcoms for more than 20 years. In all that time, he never encountered a TV family that looked anything like the one he grew up in -- with a mom, a dad...and a brother with cerebral palsy. He changed that with his show Speechless on ABC. Silveri tells us about looking to his own past for stories, and why he was determined to make a family comedy and not just a "disability show."
Industry insights and lessons learned from memorable guests We have interesting guests on The Business, and sometimes our conversations are too long to fit into one show. This week we give you stories that were too good to leave on the cutting room floor, including some sharp insights on making it in the industry from David Mandel, David Simon, Shawn Levy and Matt Reeves.
Trump says goodbye Paris Accord: What does it mean for U.S. and the planet? President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the landmark international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Trump was to renegotiate a new deal, but will that happen?