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06/25/2013 05:20 pm ET Updated Aug 25, 2013

Thuglandia Crime In L.A. - Los Angeles Magazine

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As a journalist who has covered the street gangs of Los Angeles off and on for the past 17 years, I have often stated, with perverse pride, "L.A. has the best street gangs in the United States," the way someone might boast about Yosemite's waterfalls. Big and gaudy and violent, they've been rapped about and emulated the world over. But lately if you don't live in a gang-infested neighborhood, you'd be forgiven for thinking that thugs are forsaking the thug life. Annual city homicide totals are down dramatically from the early 1990s, when there were more than 1,000 killings (nearly half of them gang related), to fewer than 300 in 2012.

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