In the late 1980's and early 1990's Los Angeles was considered the gang capital of the world, and Venice was certainly one among epicenters. Fighting for the control of drug markets and distribution during a ten-month period between 1993 and 1994, two of Venice's rival gangs - the Venice 13 and the Shoreline Crips - escalated their aggression, leaving 17 people dead and more than 50 injured. Many of the victims and perpetrators had grown up side by side, and created a racial fault line between communities that had existed previously adjacent for generations.
Professor Karen Umemoto lived in the vicinity and began a two-year ethnographic study, interviewing many Oakwood residents during and after the conflict. Her book, The Truce: Lessons from an LA Gang War, details the origins of the conflict and offers insights into the changing nature of the area.
"Venice is the closest place to a microcosm of the city that you can get within Los Angeles."
"I think gang conflict was one manifestation of the kind of racial tensions that were taking place across the city. It was not the only one, but I think it got a lot of attention because it took the most extreme form of conflict.”