The signs of progress are hard to miss in the streets around MacArthur Park.Read the whole thing. This is another brutal reminder of the new urban underclass developing in the nation's immigrant communities. See Heather MacDonald's "The Immigrant Gang Plague" for a full discussion of this growing threat.
A few aging buildings have been reborn as luxury lofts, new restaurants and an art gallery have opened, and a renovated band shell has brought concerts and family festivals to the park.
There's less graffiti on the walls, more police on the streets and crime is down significantly compared with a decade ago. Gone are the chalk lines on the sidewalks where gang members once marked their turf.
But the teeming neighborhood of mostly Mexican and Central American immigrants remains mired in poverty and urban crowding. The streets are filled with people day and night -- residents, shoppers, street vendors, drug dealers, transients and people selling fake IDs to illegal immigrants. And gang members, despite aggressive crackdowns, remain a powerful force in the district about two miles west of downtown L.A.
Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday charged a reputed gang member, Luis Silva, 19, for his alleged role in the shooting at an outdoor marketplace Saturday night on the corner of 6th Street and Burlington Avenue, injuring a vendor and killing a newborn. In the criminal complaint against Silva, he was charged with murder, attempted murder and extortion. An arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 2, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said members of the 18th Street gang tried to extort money from outdoor vendors Sept. 1. One vendor refused to pay. The gang members returned Saturday and opened fire, they said. A law enforcement source said the assailants were seeking $50 from the vendor they allegedly shot.
The shooting, residents and police say, is a reminder of the continuing pull of gangs, who prey on immigrants, many of whom are here illegally and therefore are reluctant to report crimes.
There's been more attention to immigrant crime in recent months, in the aftermath of the Newark schoolyard murders, where the main suspect is illegal alien Jose Carranza. See also Michelle Malkin on immigrant crime and illegal alien sanctuary cities. Plus, see this Washington Post story on illegal alien crime and deportation.