LA Gang Tours

gangtagsPhoto via Flickr

I’ve been on many tours in the Los Angeles area most of them have been usually run by the Los Angeles Conservancy. I usually expect people my age to think it is lame or cheesy to go on a tour, but I figure I get to learn new facts and history regarding my own city. The majority of the things I’ve learned on these tours most people who grew up in Los Angeles don’t even know or bother to know. I take it as an educational experience in our own backyard.

More after the jump

Recently on the news, I saw a new kind of tour called ” LA Gang Tours” and right away I was like “this is dope” regardless if some people might say it’s controversial or exploiting the poor etc etc. I don’t trip on that. I grew up in the hood been poor or know people from hoods. I have had friends that been to jail or prison.  I have been to most of these places, but never in this type of way. It is excellent for historical and archiving purposes in my eyes at least. The price is a bit expensive but if it goes back to the community or If I get a good experience from it, then let it be. I told a few of my friends and everybody surprisingly is down with it (even joking that they are going to bring a Mickey’s 40 oz with them). Usually when I have taken tours in the past honestly, it’s usually an older white crowd. But I don’t mind, I am down to roll down the hood with a little old granny. Hey, I might even see someone I know and wave to them from the bus, lol.

The tours are said to be starting in January so keep posted if you are interested.

Video News Link

LA Gang Tour Website

LA Times article on ” LA Gang Tours

LA GANG TOURS scheduled stops include:
  1. The Los Angeles County Jail
  2. The Los Angeles River Bed
  3. The Metropolitan Detention Center
  4. Skid Row
  5. Pueblos Housing Project
  6. The Symbionese Liberation Army Shoot Out
  7. Florencia 13
  8. Birthplace of Black Panther Party
  9. Florence District
  10. Florence Avenue
  11. Firestone Sheriff Station
  12. Jordan Downs Housing Projects
  13. Hall of Justice Jail
  14. Pico Union Graff Lab (Graffiti Lab)


Doña Junta

27 thoughts on “LA Gang Tours

  1. i saw the story in the news as well.
    Its an interesting idea- hey why not, right?

    As a latino,his-panic,I would not pay for it. I would DIY- do it for FREE myself.
    I think the best time for this would be Spring and Summer time.
    The perfect and most interested “target audience” i think would be Asian tourists,especially the Japanese.

    Hey “LA Gang Tours” could even set up, “re-create” some “reality” a la MTV’s THE HILLS.
    A chola walking down the barrio, a vato cruising in his firme low-rider down the boulevard. 🙂
    So you would at least get to see and feel like you got your moneys worth.

  2. I know free would of been good,but having someone who knows the history and knows the people in order to be cool at some of these spots is hard. As long as it goes back to the community that will justify the cost.

  3. I’m back and forth. I’m like you and I think this tour is dope, but at the same time I do get the feeling that people who don’t understand/comprehend the gang life/culture won’t see it the same way we do you know ? It’s back and forth, but a great idea to help out the communities none the less.

  4. this is whack. Who is the tour quide? ex or wannabe cops? The cops still love the idea that black panthers were gang members. I highly doubt this is set up to help out communities.

  5. Albeit, I agree with Random about the ambivalency, I do find it strikingly interesting. I am intrigued at what history will be told, how it will be told and also how the tour will be conducted as well. 65 dollars is a little steep but I am sure many have spent, countless amount of times, 65 dollars on lame things. LOL

    I somewhat can not help to almost feel a tadbit offended but at the same time think it is a dope concept. As said, I am curious and curious to know who will actually muster up to come. I’m in.

    Ima do it. WTH! LOL

  6. I think this is a great idea, however, it doesn’t go far enough. I am a latina, I lived in east LA in the 50’s and 60’s and my dream has always been to help the latino people. As a business owner, I hired alot of latino employees. Now is the time to expand my ideas and to raise funds (I can do this)for the betterment of the latin people. I need contacts that I can work with to expand these ideas, please contact me and give me names of people that I can work with to make this happen. Waiting to hear from you soon.

  7. I’ll take you around South Central, skid row, compton, swapmeets, alleys, everywhere you have always wanted to go but were too scared to do by yourself..for half the price!!!

  8. Black Panthers a gang? Good eye, Cajeta.

    You can always just watch Gangland on the History channel. They even have a guy in every episode who has a bandana around his mouth, talks in a robotic voice and says, “we don’t care who you are, you come through our hood, and it’s on. If we’ve got knives, we’ll stab you. Guns, we’ll shoot you. Doesn’t matter. We’re terrorists. And the only way to stop us is to vote for your local police department to get more funds, otherwise, we’re going to kill you, right through your t.v. set, fool!”.

  9. The tour is run by an ex gang memeber not cops check the video n see. Yes I can go my self n take pics which is fine not because I am scared but not everyone knows the history. I gone to tours in Angelino Heights n nobody says nada cus its a nice,pretty Victorian house area. I take photos of the streets and gutters all the time places most people won’t go to so why not but I understand the street and yes some people that might take the tour could be niave about but that’s up to the individual.

  10. I stopped in the Hollywood Hostel once about 10 years ago to drop off some samplers and was shocked to find that one of the tours they offered was a “Boys In The Hood” tour of South Central, Watts and Compton areas showing where they filmed scenes from a bunch of movies and where a bunch of rap videos were shot. I found it in poor taste because I imagined a bunch of European backpackers rolling through the hood in a van like some kind of fucked up safari. The guy at the desk at the hostel told me it was their most popular tour at the time.

  11. I read about this the other day in the news, i’m pretty skeptical about this. Namely unlike tours done by the Conservancy or other nonprofit which maybe free or inexpensive this tour somewhat expensive, more than those Starline Hollywood tours. I understand that the profits go back to the community, but the steep price leads me to question who is the tour aimed at with a $65 fee. Unlike the LA Conservancy tours which actually walk around the designated area and explore it. The LA Gang Tour is done from the comfort of a charter bus. Makes me draw comparison to the Wild Animal tours in the San Deigo. Thou, it may provide an great opportunity for outsiders to get a look into the reality of life in these areas and really understand the struggle that these residents face, a 2 hour tour in a charter bus of that vast of an area makes me skeptical.

  12. I think this tour could work. There are always going to be tasteless tours. This is different because of who is putting it together, what his goals are, and what kind of work it takes to make a tour such as this possible – maybe it’s operating on a bunch of different levels, and it can be a real learning experience for the tourists.

  13. I just don’t get his point on listing the Black Panther Party’s HQ as a gang location.

  14. Lastima that they aren’t coming through my town. Although I never really considered us the hood, but a lot of others do.

    You know how you ride that train at Knott’s Berry Farm and the robbers show up on the train and stage a robbery? I think it should be part of the tour. It would be great to gather some homies at select stops and have them “stage” something.

  15. I read all of the other opinions on it. And I can agree w/ pretty much each one. To be able to learn the history of Los Angeles would be great. To realize some buildings I see all the time actually were landmarks for some reason or another is appealing. I guess it would also depend on how they advertise what they are trying to do. I wouldnt want it to seem like a zoo experience where the people, in these “hoods” are the main attraction. Yes we are low income. Some are in gangs, lets not forget it IS dangerous out there most of the time! Yet, some of us have actually done something w/ our lives while others are stuck in the gang lifestyle. I think it would be a good eye opener to some who take the tour and realize another way of living. To people like me who already know what its like to live in the ghetto, it would be interesting to see someone shed another light on it and I think it would really change our outlook on where we come from and be a reality check to others.

  16. Dona Junta, i know exactly what you mean about getting to know what you think you know. Last year i took a tour in Guadalajara, my girl was new there and i wanted to show her around all these great building but i didnt know shit bout them. I decided to take the tour and i was amazed at all the things i learned and how much history that city has.

    Im not sure about the gang tour, plus its way to expensive, but you are right, theres more than just tagged walls and deteriorated neighborhoods, theres history and facts behind all this, and that alone its probably worth your 65 bucks.



  18. wtf….

    How about a tour that takes you to the locations of high profile police beatings and shootings in the city. If you are lucky or slow enough you could get a beating too. Then we can sell them a CD with the beating caught on tape, we’ll make it look as if it is recorded by an onlooker, with subtitled text to make out what is being screamed or said.

    To the person who is starting this gang tour.

    I really hope no one gets hurt, you idiot!

  19. The thing I don’t like about it is that before they see their first gang member or even gang graffiti, they’re going to see a hundred displays of impoverished conditions. Homelessness, drug addicts, junk on the sidewalks, children running around and having to grow up in these conditions. Would any of this bother them? Or would it all be worth the price of admission if they just got to see one gang member? There’s nothing wrong with learning. But I don’t know about a person who’s only interested in gangs, and not the conditions that surround gangs and in many cases lead to their existence.

  20. I guess it really depends on how the tour is managed and the type of people that are going to go to the tour. The stereotype might be backpacking, white tourist that most of you are mentioning, but I guess we will have to wait and see for this particular tour. The tour do not mean it is going to be some clown session and everybody is going to be pointing and laughing at the poor from a bus that just seems like some exaggeration.Who knows if that will really be their first time in the hood. There might be other interested students like me who genuinely want to know the history. Like I said before I been on a ton of tours if diff so called pretty areas after a while that can be boring. That is just me I love shit like this I don’t agree it should be this expensive be I am giving it the benefit of the doubt that the funds will go back to the community.
    Again for everybody saying they will give a free tour themselves I am down if you really mean what you say, but I expect to know whats up historically with the areas weather it’s real facts or people that lived it. Shoot me a message when you have the list set up and the flash cards ready lol.

  21. During the last American Planning Association conference in Los Angeles, i gave similar hood tours to make some $$$. They werent “gang tours” per se, they were tours of La’s working class areas, discussed from a socio-historical perspective with analysis on the dynamics and nuances told by a native and insider.

    my goal was basically to expose policy makers and planners to the barrio and give them an accurate analysis of the dynamics of the communities they should be serving from aperson from it. Unfortunately few planners are from the barrio, and they need to see things from a barrio resident’s POV, given in a format for planners in technical jargon.

    I layed out the history of the area, development and occupation patterns, and how that is relevant to current dynamics. I included some gang and drug stuff (1st crack alley in US, imperial projects- got a hood pass too), but the goal and outcome was far from exploitative.

    if done right I see this being beneficial to all members involved and the communities they serve, i also see plenty of bad that can be done.

    but people need to be exposed to this shite, but the issue is truly a double edged sword.

    I did a DTLA tour (broadway, los callejones), Eastlos and south La tours. I made about $600, charging $20 a head in my little white van.

  22. Someone please post when these “tours” are rolling through town. I wanna get some homies together and rock that tour bus like the LAKERS just won the championship.

    Welcome to the hood!

  23. I reside in the city of Compton. I have been to South LA few times. You could see a great difference from one side of 105 freeway(Willowbrook area) and the other side (Watts). For instance, Compton Ave, the Willowbrook Side has nice homes with no few iron gates and the other side (Watts)has the projects.

    As a daily LA Times reader once in a while you come with some “scratch your head” articles. Well “LA GANG TOUR” was one of them. I was thinking the same way as the LA Council Member. South LA is in need of supermarkets and economic engines. Which is true. Not a liquor store in almost every two streets. With the tour, the investors would not see South LA as an attractive area. But again, the tours could bring jobs or keep jobs. I say this as a result that if they expect tourist coming from out of the country for this tour, the tourist would need a place to stay. Hotels employed people who live in South LA.

    The tour could open eyes to elected city officials and residents and business of LA to help SOUTH LA become a better safer place to live. They could see that South LA is in need of investments.

    Growing up in the side of Compton I grew up was not easy. The alley near my house was full of gangsters and graffiti and Compton was plain ugly. Today, you could go to the same alley without any gangsters drinking and the majority of the alley with any graffiti.

    I now could shop for a plasma T.V without going out of Compton, buy coffee from the new 7-Eleven or go to eat at T.G.I.F Restaurant. Compton now has a Best Buy, Target, Home Depot, Ross, Staples, Part City, T.G.I.F Restaurant, 24 Hour Fitness Center, Tag it, Del Taco and not official but I heard that maybe even Red Lobster may open in the new mega shopping center. This mega shopping center has created 1,000 new jobs for the community. Not to mentioned beautify the area. Jobs that were needed in the community. In addition, it created revenue for the city. Compton is one of the few cities in LA County that is not layoff people. In the near future Burlington Coat Factory would open in Compton bringing an estimate of 60 new jobs and TJMAXX (maybe).

    If investors invest in South LA they could hire people which a lot of people in South LA are unemployed.

    I have been to South LA few times and I have not seen any national retailer in South LA, just Liqour Stores. Nor have a seen or heard someone getting shot or rob. So South LA is not as bad as people say to be.

    Hopefully the tour could bring a great change South LA (Jobs, programs for the youth, peace etc.) and not go from bad to worse. 🙂

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