Two decades ago, parts of Hollywood, Ca., had walls were covered with graffiti, prostitutes and drug dealers lining the streets at night and gang violence a part of daily life, says the Los Angeles Times. Today, Zonia Cavazos, 56, says, “It has gotten better. People used to stop you to sell you drugs like it was candy.” Hollywood is in the midst of a major drop in crime. Reports of violent crime are down 32 percent so far this year.
Most startling, not a single homicide has been reported. The area recorded nine killings in the first four months of 2004. The crime drop reflects the gentrification of portions of Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, where new bars, restaurants, shopping centers, and nightspots are drawing young people as well as the traditional tourists. Police have focused considerable resources on trying to clean up parts of Hollywood. Officers have targeted areas where they see an increase in crime, making their presence known. The results have been dramatic in some areas, but residents and merchants say crime remains a problem in others.