Looking to capitalize on declining crime rates, and gang violence in particular, the Los Angeles Police Department has doubled its rate of gang arrests in some pockets of South Los Angeles, home to many of the city’s 400 gangs, says the Los Angeles Times. Police have started a new enforcement strategy against six gangs. A wave of construction is underway and, in an area long crippled by an absence of social services, community-based groups are bringing job training, kids’ baseball, and even a free Internet “cloud” over one neighborhood.
Police, residents, and civic leaders believe there is an opportunity, however fragile, to restore a sense of community that many feared was lost forever in the crack-and-bullet epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s. If so, South L.A.’s identity within the city could begin to shift, revealing a far more dynamic place than the one cemented in the public consciousness as an intractable ghetto. Last month, police began rolling out an injunction restricting the movements and activities of gang members in a 13.7-square-mile stretch of South Los Angeles — the largest such injunction in state history.