Touring Gangland

A group of civic activists in Los Angeles plans to start giving “Gang Tours” — taking busloads of tourists through some of the most dangerous parts of the city — in hopes of “sensitizing people, connecting them to the reality of what’s on the ground.” Critics liken the tours to voyeuristic “slum tourism” in India and Rio de Janeiro. But Gang Tours organizers say they plan on using tour profits to help communities through avenues like loans for inner-city entrepreneurs and sending graffiti taggers to art school. [%comments]


file this under whatcouldpossiblygowrong?


You use the word "But," and then describe how the tour profits will be used for social programs.

That's exactly what happens in favela tours in Rio. That's not a response to the accusation of being similar to favela tours.

Eric M. Jones

And where are they going to buy insurance? I predict it won't come to pass.


Shows like "The Wire" (OK, probably just The Wire in particular) are already being theorized as a kind of "cultural tourism." I suppose this is the next logical step.


The people sponsoring these tours are the worst kind of poverty pimps. Gang activists never do anything but siphon off federal and state funding, with no results.


"Organizers, however, say they've been careful to plan tours that are respectful and neither glorify gangs nor exploit the poor.

"What matters to me is that kids get fed and families get help," Lomas said."

I don't care if they do this or not but don't try to tell me that this is not going to glorify gangs nor exploit the poor. It is PRECISELY designed to glorify gangs and exploit the poor.

Also, I agree with #1 - "file this under whatcouldpossiblygowrong" - from the article :

""I'm not saying you have to stop shooting each other," Lomas said. "Just allow me a certain time in the day. . . . Just let the bus go through."

"Safe passage is a guarantee," Smith said."

The only thing I'm pleased about - no mention of state, county, or city $ being pumped into this thing.

Kevin P.

... sending graffiti taggers to art school.

Shouldn't graffiti taggers be sent to prison?

This is LA at its worst - the city where the victims of graffiti have to clean it up at their own expense or risk a city fine.


I think the first bus, provided it doesn't attract bullets, will be robbed and the money will go to a "save the gangs" fund. The gangs might just ask: "You want to clean up our streets by riding the bus?" Maybe they will be too busy laughing to shoot you. Perhaps a collection plate and a photo album will do just as much and accomplish the same goal.


Wow. If it's profitable I might be willing to lead a similar tour through Kabul.

Eric M. Jones

Touring Chernobyl....


Well at least some one has come with a great idea,, I can see the ads now - "attention ladies and gentlemen , and on the street corner we have some "laytinos" displaying their bright colors to the opposite sex during a rarely observed mating


If the tourists are robbed, is the tour company liable?


While taking a tour of New Orleans, we took a side trip from the cultural and historical stuff to view the Katrina damage.

The whole tour seemed to me to be 'See how bad we've got it? Vote to give us money!'.

Being of the opinion that we shouldn't be paying to move people back into decaying ghettos under sea level, I wasn't amused.


Sounds incredibly foolish.

Sort of like hiking along the Iran-Iraq border for fun.

Oh wait, someone actually did that too -- didn't work out so well.


This reminds me of the "Katrina Tours" of the Lower Ninth Ward that are traveling through on huge tour buses, barely slowing down and not touching upon the real causes of and things learned from the disaster. But wait, $1 of your $49 tour fee goes towards "helping." I guess you can feel better about yourself now.

Craig Engel

I'm waiting for a civil rights attorney or activist group to level allegations of 'hate' crimes against the tour operators.