February 4, 2009
Why Drew Street Continues to Thrive as Gang Enclave
View Larger Drew Street Enclave Map
ACCORDING TO his Facebook profile today, Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti is "helping demolish" the Avenue Gangs headquarters at 3304 Drew Street (map, street view ) adjacent to Atwater Village. (More from the LA Times.)
Cops raided this corner of Glassell Park in June 2008. It's protected by "dead" space: literally, on 2 sides, by Forest Lawn cemetery. The third side is bounded by the 2 freeway.
The fourth boundary is made of 2 large unoccupied lots. One, the old Van de Kamp bakery, is where Los Angeles Community College is slowly building its northeast campus. The other, a former Kmart site, is where activists have fought development by the likes of Home Depot for being "incompatible" with community interests.
But it seems to me it's be better to have active, public spaces, even if they're commercially "incompatible," over large vacant lots that shield gang activity from civilian eyes.