LA Gang Tours offers high-end bus tours of gang hot spots, historic and current, and crime scene locations in South Central, Los Angeles and vicinity. Also on the agenda are the birthplace of Raymond Washington's East Side Crips, the county jail, Los Angeles Black Panther Party hangout, Watts Arts Gallery, and the Firestone Sheriff Station where the National Guard set up their HQ during the Watts Riots in 1965. LA Gang Tours was founded by gang member-turned-minister Alfred Lomas. According to the Web site, "The objective is to create jobs for the residents of South Central, Los Angeles; to give profits from the tours back to these areas for economic growth and development, provide job/entrepreneur training, micro-financing opportunities and to specialize in educating people from around the world about the Los Angeles inner city lifestyle, gang involvement and solutions." Tickets are $65 and include opportunities to chat up reformed, er, gangstas. From AOL News:
To make sure tourists get a taste of the gang life without all the pesky violent crime that can mar a rating on Yelp or TripAdvisor, Lomas has negotiated a cease-fire agreement with the gangs, guaranteeing that the tour bus can roll through the streets of South Central without risk of a carjacking or drive-by shooting."LA Man Creates Tour of Gangsta Hot Spots"
"I was able to do this through my humanitarian efforts," Lomas said. "I went into the housing projects of the different gangs, and when you're feeding someone's mother, you earn the right to be in the area."
So far, academics and law enforcement officials have been the main demographic, but Lomas is starting to see locals from rich areas, like Bel Air and Beverly Hills, take the tours.
"They want to see this area that they've heard so much about but have never been to, even though it's close by," he said, adding that he hopes to attract more out-of-town tourists this summer.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.