Top Ten Poverty Locations and Gangs

Alex Alonso
June 20, 2004
updated: February 9, 2007

There has been so much research on the relationship between crime and poverty and how that may effect gang involvement. Most social problems within the community are caused by a variety of circumstances, i.e. education, family structure, income and housing, but there has never been a comprehensive study that looked at the factors that are most prevalent where street gangs are most active and determined whether other factors may play a bigger role or how multiple factors work together within these communities where gangs and violence are most concentrated.

Rank Gang Official Poverty Poverty



1 Grape Street Crips 83.6 91.6 Los Angeles – Watts Black
2 Brick Blocc Mafia 58.4 88.2 Long Beach Black
3 Primera Flats 57.6 77.5 Los Angeles – Boyle Heights Hispanic
4 52 Pueblos 52.3 76.1 Los Angeles- South Black
5 Crazy Riders 47.6 75.1 Los Angeles – Pico Union Hispanic
6 PJ Watts Crips 59.2 74.3 Los Angeles – Watts Black
7 Big Hazard 53.7 74.0 Los Angeles – Boyle Heights Hispanic
8 Bounty Hunters 62.0 73.9 Los Angeles – Watts Black
9 Florencia 13 48.1 73.1 Los Angeles – South Hispanic
10 83 Hoovers 45.4 70.3 Los Angeles – South Black

The table above represents the top ten locations within Los Angeles where poverty is most extreme. The third column represents the percentage of residents living at or below the official poverty level as defined by the US government in the census tract that coincides with that gang. Because some believe that the federal definition may be a bit conservative, others use 150% of the poverty figure to get a better sense of poverty levels, so both those numbers have been included.

There were other places on the map where poverty levels were high, such as the small area in Westwood near UCLA and the north area of USC where the students live, but those were clearly taken out of the list because they don’t represent everyday living and “real” poverty. Because college students have little to no income and their neighborhoods show up on a poverty map too.

The types of communities where gangs have formed in high poverty areas were those that had public housing . Seven of the top ten poverty stricken gangs were within a public housing community with the exception of 1) Crazy Riders, 2) Florencia 13, and 3) 83 Hoovers. The Pico Union neighborhood had the highest poverty level for an area without any public housing present. And within the entire County of LA, only one area was not in the City of Los Angeles, that being the Brick Blocc Mafia Crips in North Long Beach, where there is a small housing project located.

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