LA Gang Tour: “A Story of Redemption”

By JONATHAN LLOYD, CHUCK HENRY and MARY HARRIS (NBC Los Angeles)

Jul 29, 2010

Some LA bus tours will take you past celebrity homes, Rodeo Drive, the Walk of Fame and other Hollywood landmarks.

The LA Gang Tour is different.

It has scheduled stops at the Los Angeles County Jail, the LA river bed, Metropolitan Detention Center and the Pico Union Graffiti Lab.

Alfred Lomas is the tour’s founder. He said the purpose of the three-hour bus ride is the educate, not exploit.

From the tour’s website:

    The mission of LA GANG TOURS is to provide an unforgettable historical experience for our customers with a customized high-end specialty tour. We will provide customers with a true first-hand encounter of the history and origin of high profile gang areas and the top crime scene locations in South Central, Los Angeles. Each tour bus for LA GANG TOURS will have a guide from the South Central areas who has gained hands-on knowledge and experience of the inner city lifestyle.

Such as Melvin Johnson.

“Everything bad that could happen to you in gangs, happened to me,” Johnson told a tour group. “I’ve been shot, stabbed, incarcerated. Every jail we went by today, I was there.”

At the Pico Union Graf Lab, passengers exit the bus for a tour of the facility.

“This is just a place to get your art on,” said one artist.

At the birthplace of the Crips gang, passengers meet reformed gang members. And, at the Watts Art Gallery, they can view original works.

Jorga Leap, a gang specialist, said she admires Lomas’ motivation.

“But we can’t treat it like it’s Disneyland,” she said. “Like it’s another amusement for tourists to come and see when they visit Los Angeles.”

Ana Parra, of Homeboy Industries, told NBCLA the tour can’t capture realities on the ground.

“I honestly think it’s a bunch of b.s.,” said Parra. “We’re not a zoo. We’re human beings. People cannot really understand what being in a gang is by getting a tour.”

Lomas said the goal is to create jobs for South Central residents.

Click the following link to read the full article: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local-beat/LA-Gang-Tour–99546594.html

Posted by on Jul 29 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “LA Gang Tour: “A Story of Redemption””

  1. Plan Idiota

    I wonder what happened to the idea they once had to go into a neighborhood and get assaulted by “gang members” and water pistols? I think this is a good idea, especially if their is some education that gang life is not the right life for youth today. It would be great for parents to bring their wanna be gang member teens to see what it be like on da real…sort of like a scared straight thing ya know?

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