How to survive a walk through gang territory

Writer/Art designer “East Los Angeles” at has some tips he’s learned from having to walk around four different gang territories in his neighborhood.

Always walk with your hands out of your pockets! The last thing you want is fuckers thinking your packing heat or can of paint… Walk at a normal pace, and never say “whats up” to people you don’t know…

On avoiding being “taxed” (mugged), he says he “would usually take off any jewelery and hide it under my cap.”

He also says to watch out for cars that are driving at night without their headlights on – they could be prepping for a driveby – but while you should look for safety, don’t run.

“Running seems to send the bullets your way.”

And in the worse case scenario you do get shot, either run away really fast, “or pretend that your dead, the last thing they want is a witness.”

9 thoughts on “How to survive a walk through gang territory”

  1. sweet jeeeesus you forgot the biggy…if you don’t look like you belong there, and this applies on several levels, and you can’t make it look like you do, get the hell out of there. Looking out of place is about the same as putting a big bullseye on your ass.

  2. Also… I grew up in the MidWest, so maybe it’s different here, but I was told not to talk to strangers.

    When someone I don’t know just says “what’s up?” to me out of the blue, I think he might be someone either crazy, panhandling or both.

    So again, who does this stuff? Why not ride the bus if you have to go through those areas? In the article, the guy says he lives between 4 different gangs. Didn’t he bother checking the neighborhood out before moving there?

    Am I just being naive here?

  3. DJG:
    It sounds to me like he was a kid at the time.
    Regardless, I don’t think people choose to live in crime infested areas – its an issue of affordability.

  4. This sounds so lame. I’ve lived around gangsters all my life. Yes they suck. But all this sounds like paranoid advice for the paranoid.

    I always say “Sup” to the homies. It’s all in how you carry yourself. If you look lost and paranoid, then yes, you’re gonna get thumped.

    And seriously, can we put the driving with headlights off to rest. 99% of the time its just some borracho driving home from the bar. The few drive-bys I’ve witnessed, none of them turned their lights off.

    And does anyone know the history of Dogtown gang in Highland Park? Avenues sure, but a gang named after bunch of skaters from Venice??? I don’t get it.

  5. … or be obviously so out of place that the homies know you’re not involved with anything in the hood. I lived in Boyle Heights back in the early 90s when it was a lot scarier than it is now… right near St Louis & Michigan, used to walk all the time, no big deal… then again I was the only guero in the hood so nobody really bothered me. Oh and another thing – don’t walk like a lost, scared tourist – but don’t walk like you’re looking for trouble either, or it will find you. It’s the old adage – walk with a purpose, keep your distance, know your surroundings, be smart. If you see a group of people hanging out and you don’t have any real need to walk through them, don’t. Give ’em some space unless you want to have a higher chance of bumping into someone, or getting bumped, which is a classic way to start a confrontation. That’s a battle you’ll lose as the’re the bad boys and you’re not. Trust me, you’re not. I know. I wasn’t, and still aren’t. No problem. Above all, just relax a little, take it easy and keep your wits about you… I walk around downtown every day, and while there’s not much gang activity here (even on Main, LA and 5th) it’s not hard to find trouble. Just be safe out there.

  6. Walk with a purpose, dont look down and most importantly, if someone swings, explode on them with the intent to do grave bodily injury. Remeber even as we are a “civilized” society you should always be prepared to take a life in defense of your own. No one is going to miss another bottom feeding ganbanger. Trust Me.


  8. Remember, if you’re walking through Boyle Heights or City Terrace and you see a group of eses, be sure to approach them and say, “Hi there! I’m here from Silver Lake to help gentrify your neighborhood! I bring soy lattes, ironic indie rock, and higher rent for everyone as me and kind push you out of the neighborhood you grew up in! Thanks for not shooting me.”

    That should do the trick.

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