Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Division Gang unit believe a recent spate of violence in the area may be the result of smaller neighborhood gangs looking to "humiliate" a once powerful and violent local power, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In an article posted by the Times on Thursday morning, officers from the gang unit said that two recent shootings on Drew Street in Glassell Park--once the home base to the Avenues gang, which plagued the area with violent crime and drug dealing--may have been committed by members of up and coming gangs looking to establish themselves in the area.
"Because the Avenues' power is weakening, [smaller gangs are] able to come in" and commit shootings and vandalism, said Juan Aguilar, a gang detective who has worked the two blocks of the residential street for most of his nine years in the Northeast Division. Years ago, such gangs would never have attempted to enter the neighborhood, authorities said.
Speaking to Patch in Sept., Lt. Steven Flores of LAPD's Northeast Division said the 2008 takedown of the Avenues gang in Glassell Park, which sent more than 100 gang members to jail, has created a "leadership void" that smaller gangs are attempting to fill.
"Now you have all these leaderless guys going out there trying to make a name for themselves by causing havoc," Lt. Flores said.
Flores added that, while the gang scene in Highland Park is less predictable than it was prior to the 2008 raid, there are also fewer major crimes.
"It's difficult to deal with, but it's better than dealing with the big boys who commit the major crimes," Flores said. "It's easier to catch the younger guys because they have no idea what they're doing."