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Old 02-26-2010, 09:19 AM
 
39 posts, read 149,859 times
Reputation: 31

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Hello All,

I grew up in El Sereno Los Angeles CA. There were a lot of 1st generation mexican/americans and a lot of gang related violence. It was a very poor area.

I didn't know any of this until I got much older/relocated and saw much nicer areas.

I lived where you would get "hit up" walking down the street sometimes -- where middle schoolers used marijuana, tagged, and were influenced by various gangs.

Where you would hear drive byes and gunshots with regularity (mostly at night).

Where rumors circulated that so and so got jumped by such and such gang.

But I wasn't ever really affected by this. I never felt too scared to walk down the streets, or talk to neighbors, or make friends in the area (as a kid).

I didn't know anybody that got shot, or was killed, or anything like that.

I knew gang bangers but they stayed to themselves for the most part and only got confrontational with you if you represented a rival gang or something.

My Question to you is: When people talk about these types of areas, are they exaggerating? Is it really THAT bad to find a place to live (and benefit greatly from the low cost of living) in these "crime ridden, gang lands" ?

When people talk about these areas -- Is the description I gave consistent with what they're referring to?

I'm looking for a place to live and I'm trying to find something as affordable as possible. If I grew up in what many would deem a "bad area", and don't have a real problem with it looking back, does that mean I can safely ignore peoples advice to "stay the hell away from that terrible area!"?
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:22 AM
 
14,260 posts, read 24,034,075 times
Reputation: 4440
It depends on the place.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
8,900 posts, read 14,068,867 times
Reputation: 1819
I've taught in 2 high crime areas of NYC. It can be avoided, but you most definitely will hear about it on a regular basis. I taught Kindergarten and 1st grade in the south Bronx for 2 years, and now I'm in south Jamaica in Queens (1st grade). Even with those young students, they would hear about all the bad stuff going on. They saw it at home, on the streets, heard it from family members, etc. They never seemed all THAT affected by it. It seemed normal to them, which was weird to me.

I had one student in particular (for K and 1st, so I got to know her and her family well), who was very well-behaved and smart. She came from a good family. Her family wasn't involved in drugs, gangs, anything like that. She told me how she really didn't like living there, but despite everything she saw, she's a very happy kid. She saw a woman in her building get brutally shot in her apartment, which I imagine is really traumatizing for a kid. I think if a kid comes from a good family in a bad area, they'll turn out ok.

Sometimes in bad areas it depends on the block you live on. One block can be ok sometimes, but the next block can have a lot of activity going on. But if you live in the neighborhood, at some point I'm sure you'll see some bad things going on.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Northridge, Los Angeles, CA
2,685 posts, read 6,687,089 times
Reputation: 2383
Quote:
Originally Posted by idriveabucket View Post
Hello All,

I grew up in El Sereno Los Angeles CA. There were a lot of 1st generation mexican/americans and a lot of gang related violence. It was a very poor area.

I didn't know any of this until I got much older/relocated and saw much nicer areas.

I lived where you would get "hit up" walking down the street sometimes -- where middle schoolers used marijuana, tagged, and were influenced by various gangs.

Where you would hear drive byes and gunshots with regularity (mostly at night).

Where rumors circulated that so and so got jumped by such and such gang.

But I wasn't ever really affected by this. I never felt too scared to walk down the streets, or talk to neighbors, or make friends in the area (as a kid).

I didn't know anybody that got shot, or was killed, or anything like that.

I knew gang bangers but they stayed to themselves for the most part and only got confrontational with you if you represented a rival gang or something.

My Question to you is: When people talk about these types of areas, are they exaggerating? Is it really THAT bad to find a place to live (and benefit greatly from the low cost of living) in these "crime ridden, gang lands" ?

When people talk about these areas -- Is the description I gave consistent with what they're referring to?

I'm looking for a place to live and I'm trying to find something as affordable as possible. If I grew up in what many would deem a "bad area", and don't have a real problem with it looking back, does that mean I can safely ignore peoples advice to "stay the hell away from that terrible area!"?
I grew up in North Hollywood in the late 90s-early 2000s, and it was one of those places in Los Angeles that was making the transition from 'middle class area' to 'lower middle class' with a shift towards poor Asian and Latin American (mostly Guatemalans and Salvadorians, with Mexicans sprinkled about). One of my neighbors was a drug dealer, and the other neighbor was on Section 8, populated by the sort of ghetto trash that most people would stay away from (except my last neighbor, who ended up being my best friend). Across the street, there was another drug dealer and another gang member.

Since the SFV was a major transit point between the drug growing areas/drug making areas and their major dealing markets around Los Angeles (middle class and upper class kids need to get their drugs somewhere, right?) crime spiraled out of control at that time. The whole works, police helicopters flying over every night, every once in a while some gunshots, and roving gangs of teenage kids breaking into cars or smoking tweak whenever they could.

However, I was never really scared to walk down the street or anything since I knew everyone in my neighborhood. My parents were traditional immigrant parents, always at work and never causing problems for anyone else.

For the most part, if you weren't into the life, you were left alone. For the most part, my family was left alone. However, Latino gangs in LA were never really known to hurt innocent people for no reason. There always has to be a motive to do something.

Nowadays, the area is much more quiet because the police actually care. The area is fast gentrifying due to the revival of the NoHo Arts District and the opening of the Orange and Red Lines, making it a viable walkable area for those seeking an urban lifestyle. In some ways, that's good. In others, that's bad. Not a day goes by when some hick transplant tells me in my old neighborhood what life in Los Angeles is like. As if he knows.

I currently live next to Oakland, CA (probably the most dangerous city in California), and I don't feel unsafe or anything. You learn to develop street smarts and learn how to conduct yourself when you grew up in a bad area.

It all depends on you. If you're comfortable in a poor, ghetto area then don't be scared. If you're not, stay away because there will never be anything that could make it better.
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Old 02-26-2010, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
4,483 posts, read 8,826,784 times
Reputation: 5537
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael84 View Post
I've taught in 2 high crime areas of NYC. It can be avoided, but you most definitely will hear about it on a regular basis. I taught Kindergarten and 1st grade in the south Bronx for 2 years, and now I'm in south Jamaica in Queens (1st grade). Even with those young students, they would hear about all the bad stuff going on. They saw it at home, on the streets, heard it from family members, etc. They never seemed all THAT affected by it. It seemed normal to them, which was weird to me.

I had one student in particular (for K and 1st, so I got to know her and her family well), who was very well-behaved and smart. She came from a good family. Her family wasn't involved in drugs, gangs, anything like that. She told me how she really didn't like living there, but despite everything she saw, she's a very happy kid. She saw a woman in her building get brutally shot in her apartment, which I imagine is really traumatizing for a kid. I think if a kid comes from a good family in a bad area, they'll turn out ok.

Sometimes in bad areas it depends on the block you live on. One block can be ok sometimes, but the next block can have a lot of activity going on. But if you live in the neighborhood, at some point I'm sure you'll see some bad things going on.
LOL this is a very insightful post. You noted "It seemed normal to them, which was weird to me." As you may already know I grew up in the South Bronx as well. It was normal for me as well. Do you know why? Because I saw people getting beat up, and fighting every day as I was growing in the Bronx, so I just got used to it, because we grow up so entreched into that environment. So we didn't know any better. As I was growing up in the bronx I saw gangs fighting, I heard of people getting shot, etc... Many of my friends that used to go to school with me are in jail, some are dead or still in the corners selling drugs. However, some make it out of the 'hood' and some don't. I managed to go to school and do good things with my life. So, I'd say parents are the one to blame for their child to be what they are now.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:14 AM
 
39 posts, read 149,859 times
Reputation: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifeshadower View Post
I grew up in North Hollywood in the late 90s-early 2000s, and it was one of those places in Los Angeles that was making the transition from 'middle class area' to 'lower middle class' with a shift towards poor Asian and Latin American (mostly Guatemalans and Salvadorians, with Mexicans sprinkled about). One of my neighbors was a drug dealer, and the other neighbor was on Section 8, populated by the sort of ghetto trash that most people would stay away from (except my last neighbor, who ended up being my best friend). Across the street, there was another drug dealer and another gang member.

Since the SFV was a major transit point between the drug growing areas/drug making areas and their major dealing markets around Los Angeles (middle class and upper class kids need to get their drugs somewhere, right?) crime spiraled out of control at that time. The whole works, police helicopters flying over every night, every once in a while some gunshots, and roving gangs of teenage kids breaking into cars or smoking tweak whenever they could.

However, I was never really scared to walk down the street or anything since I knew everyone in my neighborhood. My parents were traditional immigrant parents, always at work and never causing problems for anyone else.

For the most part, if you weren't into the life, you were left alone. For the most part, my family was left alone. However, Latino gangs in LA were never really known to hurt innocent people for no reason. There always has to be a motive to do something.

Nowadays, the area is much more quiet because the police actually care. The area is fast gentrifying due to the revival of the NoHo Arts District and the opening of the Orange and Red Lines, making it a viable walkable area for those seeking an urban lifestyle. In some ways, that's good. In others, that's bad. Not a day goes by when some hick transplant tells me in my old neighborhood what life in Los Angeles is like. As if he knows.

I currently live next to Oakland, CA (probably the most dangerous city in California), and I don't feel unsafe or anything. You learn to develop street smarts and learn how to conduct yourself when you grew up in a bad area.

It all depends on you. If you're comfortable in a poor, ghetto area then don't be scared. If you're not, stay away because there will never be anything that could make it better.
Very well written, thank you.

I had a good friend from El Sereno who was El Salvadorian with cousins who lived in North Hollywood area. They "claimed" MS "Mara Salvatrucha" and were in rivalry with 18th St. in that general area. This was during the same time period you speak of 90s.

Just pointing out an interesting coincidence i guess.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Northridge, Los Angeles, CA
2,685 posts, read 6,687,089 times
Reputation: 2383
Quote:
Originally Posted by idriveabucket View Post
Very well written, thank you.

I had a good friend from El Sereno who was El Salvadorian with cousins who lived in North Hollywood area. They "claimed" MS "Mara Salvatrucha" and were in rivalry with 18th St. in that general area. This was during the same time period you speak of 90s.

Just pointing out an interesting coincidence i guess.
Maybe they were the same people I knew. If so, small world . However, there were way too many posers in small sets trying to claim more than they really were.

It seemed that every other kid at my HS claimed 18th street or MS-13. However, most of the tagging around North Hollywood had "X3" (or 'Sureno'), so that shows where the real gangs had loyalty to. There is this area around Sun Valley/Pacoima called 'Jokertown' which probably had the highest concentration of gang members and drug dealers in the East Valley. However, even that neighborhood isn't that bad as long as you aren't looking for trouble.

Nowadays though, those who aren't in jail now are just sitting around doing drugs. For the most part, North Hollywood seems to quieted down quite a bit.

I used to make plenty of trips to El Sereno/Highland Park when I was younger because my friend went to Optimist HS. I also had family in Eagle Rock. It's quite a contrast, considering where these areas are next to (Glendale/Pasadena/South Pasadena). But hey, it could be worse. It could be South LA.
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Old 02-26-2010, 10:47 AM
 
3,234 posts, read 7,962,428 times
Reputation: 2744
I find that a good amount of the time the people that talk about these areas are sheltered suburbanites who have little experience in the area and are just playing into hysteria.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
8,900 posts, read 14,068,867 times
Reputation: 1819
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycricanpapi View Post
LOL this is a very insightful post. You noted "It seemed normal to them, which was weird to me." As you may already know I grew up in the South Bronx as well. It was normal for me as well. Do you know why? Because I saw people getting beat up, and fighting every day as I was growing in the Bronx, so I just got used to it, because we grow up so entreched into that environment. So we didn't know any better. As I was growing up in the bronx I saw gangs fighting, I heard of people getting shot, etc... Many of my friends that used to go to school with me are in jail, some are dead or still in the corners selling drugs. However, some make it out of the 'hood' and some don't. I managed to go to school and do good things with my life. So, I'd say parents are the one to blame for their child to be what they are now.

You're a rare case of someone coming out of the south Bronx as successful as you are How many natives of the south Bronx can say they have a Masters degree? lol. Good for you.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:13 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, United States
4,230 posts, read 9,538,814 times
Reputation: 1419
Quote:
When people talk about "ghetto crime ridden areas to stay the hell away from - at all costs!" are they exaggerating?
Based on my experiences, this is the case more often then not. Most people yelling the stay away from places have never been to the place they're describing (a lot of times they don't even know where it is).
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