Jordan Downs is a public housing project considered by the Los Angeles Police Department to be so dangerous that officers are allowed to conduct patrols from the safety of their cars and the department is installing outdoor surveillance cameras to monitor crime, says the Los Angeles Times. The project is the home of the Grape Street Crips, one of the area’s oldest black gangs, and has the highest rate of violent crime among the city’s public housing projects.
The LAPD has intensified its war on gangs with stepped-up patrols and tough enforcement of a court injunction that allows the arrest of Grape Street Crips if they congregate in the project or on surrounding streets. The campaign is proving a tough sell in the complex, where extended families go back for generations and relations between residents and police have been marked by a history of conflict. Police officers “wouldn’t know a gang member from a Boy Scout in that community,” civil rights lawyer Connie Rice said. “Anybody who’s ever said hello to anybody in a gang is [considered] ‘affiliated.’ ” Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the area, has been deluged with complaints from residents who say officers’ heavy-handed tactics are saddling men with arrest records and increasing hostility toward the police. Police Chief William Bratton and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo have pledged to review the injunction process.