A reader turned me on to this article about life in the LA Hood: "Sympathy for the Devil: Crime Stats Say L.A.'s Streets Are Safer Than Ever, So Why Are Gang Hoods Still So Bloody?"
It's by Sam Slovick in the LA Weekly. It's long. I'll confess, I haven't read it all (sheee-it, man... I got things I got to be doing). But if you've got an hour on your hands, check it out.