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L.A. Gang Hangout Gives Way to Housing Project

REBECCA ROBERTS, host:

Los Angeles is famous for its gang problem and for its many efforts to crack down on gangs. It's also known as a place for only some people can afford to buy a home. This week L.A. tried to do something that may solve both problems.

As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, the city knocked down a former Crips hangout to make way for some affordable housing.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Here on the corner of 69th and Main Streets in south L.A., three apartment building were once the headquarters of the notorious 69th East Crips. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo says the complex was where the gangbangers sold drugs, planned murders and robberies and other crimes.

Mr. ROCKY DELGADILLO (City Attorney): They called it 6900 Death Lane. They shot 13 people that we know of. These gang members would just break into the apartment buildings, hide from the police and conduct their drug sales, gun sales, firing weapons, intimidating the neighborhood.

DEL BARCO: Delgadillo's office shut down the former gang hangout three years ago as the result of a public nuisance lawsuit.

Mr. DELGADILLO: This gang is now gone because we took away their headquarters, called Project T.O.U.G.H.

(Soundbite of demolition)

DEL BARCO: This week a demolition crew began tearing down the property.

Ms. CECILIA ESTOLANO (Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles): This was just this cancer in the neighborhood.

DEL BARCO: Cecilia Estolano is a CEO of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles.

Ms. ESTOLANO: Now we're going to be able to remove this cancer and replace it with vibrant homeowners who will be invested in the community.

DEL BARCO: Estolano says in a few years, instead of a gang hangout, this corner could have affordable condominiums or apartments.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.
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