In South Los Angeles, “one homicide often means another in a ruthless pattern of payback,” the Los Angeles Times says. “Retaliation shootings are so common that some police view them as inevitable.”
A basic factor in gang violence is revenge, police say. “It’s almost a race,” said Sal LaBarbera, a police detective in Watts. “Can we arrest a suspect before they are retaliated against?”
Police sometimes deploy extra patrols where they anticipate the next hit. Some police advocate more use of the negotiation tactics employed by some investigators who try to stop retaliation cycles through sheer persuasion. Another remedy is solving more murders. Solution rates below 50 percent have been typical in high-crime areas over the last 15 years, the Times says. Police are hampered because many witnesses are fearful to testify. In that context, the idea of street justice occurs to many survivors.