Gang map of the Pico Union area of Central Los Angeles
By Alex A. Alonso
September 2, 2009
The Pico Union area is home to over 40,000 residents that includes a population that is over 87 percent Hispanic of both foreign and US born Hispanics of mostly Mexican and El Salvadorean descent. Over 100 years ago, Swedish immigrants settled in this community and formed the First Evangelical Free Church in 1913 which is still standing at 1356 Albany Ave. During the 1950s and 1960s, Mexicans immigrated to this community, then as a result of civil war that broke out in El Salvador beginning in 1980, the demographics slowly began to change again as thousands of refugees fled El Salvador and settled in this community.
The Pico-Union community stretches from Normandie Avenue (west) to the 110 Harbor Freeway (east) between Olympic (north) and the Santa Monica 10 Freeway (south).
Today there are over 10 gangs in this small area, all of Hispanic origin and home to the original Mara Salvatrucha gang that formed in the early 1980s, and the original 18th Street gang that formed as a click of an older Clanton gang 50 years ago.