Gringo’s Guide To Highland Park Gangs

No, dear Gringo that’s not  afternoon fireworks you’re hearing, that’s gunshots.  Yes, our little hipster hamlet has a teensy weensy gang problem.   This past summer there were 14 gang related shootings within as many days, I know totes scary right?  Seems like the Huffington Post missed this little fact when naming us the hottest neighborhood in the USA.


Yikes! Tag on Monte Vista and Avenue 56

So how does a hipster stay safe in the hood?  Here’s a few tips from some of us pioneers.

1.  Get a dog, like a vicious, growling pitbull type dog.

2. Recognize the tags…and if you see rival tags close to each other probably best to avoid that area as a turf war may be imminent.

Highland Park Gang Tag

Highland Park Gang Tag on North Avenue 57

3.  When you find yourself on the patio at the Cave and bum a cigarette from a large, 40 year old, bald, hispanic man with tear drop tattoos and he invites you back to his place, don’t go.  Pretty much avoid eye contact with anyone sporting  tear drop, knife and/or gun tattoos.

4. Avoid men with oversized clothes riding undersized bikes.  Gang bangers love to rock out with over sized Dickie shorts and ginormous Dodger’s Jerseys.  But then they mute their toughness by hopping on a bike that’s just a few sizes larger than a Big Wheels.  Big clothes + Small bike = Hipster walking the other way.

5. If you’re practicing  sign language,  skip spelling words that contain the letters ‘L’ and ‘A’  as this could be mistaken for throwing gang signs.  One of the  gangs here in the HP is the ‘Avenues’ or ‘Avenidas’.   Many of its members dwell in those dismal apartments on Avenue 57.  They wear LA baseball caps and LA shirts  and not just because they’re Dodgers’ fans.  They’re  sporting all that LA gear because “LA” in gang script stands for Las Avenidas; saved them from having to come out with a clothing line of their own.

Avenues Gang Sign

Avenues Gang Sign

6. If a gangbanging looking dude asks you “where you from” play dumb.   You see “where you from” in gang speak means what gang are you in.  Say something like Berkeley or Seattle, this will confuse them.

But being the loving politically correct crew that we are, we would never want to stereotype all our hispanic amigos as being gangbangers, so how can you be sure?  In review here’s a few things to look for the next time you’re wondering if your neighbor is banging.

1. IF he can decipher those graffiti tags on your block, he’s probably a gangbanger.

2. IF he has tear drop tattoos, pretty safe bet…gangbanger

3. IF he constantly is saying “I like your dog, dog”, he’s probably a gangbanger.

4. IF his clothes are 4 sizes too big and his bike 4 sizes too small, might be a gangbanger.

5. IF he’s doing sign language and spelling lots of words with the letters ‘L’ and ‘A’, safe bet he’s a banger.

Hope this helps Gringos, be safe out there.

About Highland Park Gringo

I'm a Gringo, a hipster, a bon vivant, strolling the streets of Highland Park. Bring me your vinyl, your hoodies, your cheap wine and let's have a ball.
This entry was posted in graffiti, Local News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Gringo’s Guide To Highland Park Gangs

  1. dave says:

    This neighborhood was already cool before all the hipster transplants moved in.

  2. homeboy says:

    Remember,don´t use sign language with H´s neither or d´s.

  3. you’re a fucking idiot & so fucking wrong.

  4. el_dandy says:

    I can decipher graffitti tags on your block gringo hipster. But I work for a non profit housing agency, does that make me a likely “gangbanger”?

    And you think eye avoiding and ignoring “Pretty much avoid eye contact with anyone sporting tear drop, knife and/or gun tattoos.” is a safe tactic? How about giving a polite hello or smile if you see somebody and make eye contact with them, that might actually keep things amicable instead of rudely ignoring a human being.

    Menso. Pendejo.

    • I’m not sure dandy but working non profit is awesome, very hipster of you! And the next time I’m between 51 and 54 I’ll be sure to say Bon Jour! Thanks for your comments.

    • El_Andy says:

      Where did u learn to decipher graffiti tags? Do they teach that at the non-profit housing agency?

      I don’t think a aiding eye contact with a 300lb Hispanic guy with the word “AVES” tattooed across his face is necessarily bad advice. But perhaps you welcome the occasion skinhead neo-nazi into your home for tea and crumpets (although personally, I would avoid him too).

  5. Pendjo Gringo move out of HLP says:

    I want to give this article the virtual finger.

    • Dare says:

      HELL yes. This stereotyping and ridiculously colonizing attitude is the thing causing people to fear monger, racially profile and call the cops on neighbors for no reason. This blogger is ridiculously racist and classist.

      • Jojo says:

        What’s pretty funny is how everyone is getting so upset about this.
        This is obviously a parody, a caricature. Highland Park Gringos is making fun of everyone, from the hypsters to the gangbangers.
        Where is everyone’s sense of humor?

      • Jojo says:

        Do you really think that if this blogger was racist he would have moved in a predominant Hispanic Neighborhood?
        HP is 73% Hispanic.
        I think this blog started has a funny stereotype kind of joke and everyone is getting so upset about it that he finds it funny to keep everyone agitated.
        Notice that he makes fun of the hypsters most of all.
        There are truly, more serious and important forums to be heard if it something that some of you guys feel passionate about, instead of making this guy’s day and have passive aggressive cyber bullshit argument.

  6. This is the worst blog post of all time. You are not a gringo, you’re a racist and an idiot.

  7. JR says:

    No wonder all the hipsters are xenophobic and dont even have the courtesy to look you in the eye as you cross paths on 57. Its unfortunate as Ive seem some cute ones that I’m certain would enjoy calavera war stories, Toms shoes dialogue, high waisted short shorts recommendations, and gentrification vs colonization discussions. Whoever wrote this artice is grossly mistaken. “lil bikes” make great windshield battering rams. Ask the cops who got ambushed in Toonerville. Only a jack ass would be stifled by “im from seattle” as a retort to “where you from lame!?”. Though I know of none registered with MENSA, I do know several that will respond accordingly to your silly attempt at reparte. Keep it real and respect the hood.

    • Ok I’ll Keep it Real!!! Thanks JR for your comment!

      • mel says:

        Highland Park Gringo, U must be the guy walking on 57 with a smirk on his face…
        U are the Anti Hipster….
        I wouldn’t be surprised if you are born and raise HP…
        Keep the good work and your sense of humor.

      • Ashley says:

        What decently composed and witty lines from such an ultimately ignorant individual. Although gentrification can be considered inevitable , what is controllable is the prejudice that comes with it . What you fear is what you lack, and in this passages case that is tolerance and consideration for the other.
        A in sign language does not resemble the A that a “gang member” would use so that was incorrect . Regarding pants being too large, it can be considered culture just like “hipster” mens pants are sometimes four times too snug and four directions left from the men’s departments and straight into the woman’s. As for considering this an attempt to help gringos be safe out there, all this person really did was help shed light on the ignorance being bestowed as low comedy or fact. This current happening doesn’t have to be a head on collision , it has potential for that of a graceful mixing pot.

      • Pants being too large as we know comes from the “fashion” in prisons. So it’s gang bangers embracing prison attire. You must be a writer too, I can tell from your email “” Clever!!!

  8. mel says:

    Sense of Humor Failure..anyone?

  9. DeathToHipsters says:

    Ignorant articles like this are why people hate hipsters.

  10. Oscar Vega says:

    I have lived in Highland Park for 18 years and have NEVER been harassed or stopped by a gang member. If anything, they actually say hi or what’s up. They only mess with you if you yourself look like a gang member or if you start talking crap to them! Highland Park may be a bit ghetto but hey, it’s still a pretty cool place and having moved to the valley to attend college at CSUN, I still miss Highland Park sometimes.

    This article is pure bullshit and more.

  11. ashley says:

    It amuses me how much of a racist, discriminative, idiot you are seriously. I completely understand you can post what you like but dude dumbass ignorant people like you get what you give and then the people who look a certain way get all the blame when its idiots like you being the cause.

  12. DidntKnowIWasAGangMemberUntilNow says:

    Wow, Gringo from Highland Park. You just set your people back 150 years. Are you really that ignorant and racist or are you trying to be funny (but failing miserably at it)? Please, do all of us ‘gang bangers’ from HLP a favor and move to another town. You clearly don’t belong in our gang infested, graffiti laced area full of tattoed, pitbull owning, oversized clothes wearing, tiny bicycle riding, gang sign throwing population. None of us want you here.

  13. Sal says:

    You definitely needs to learn the roots that run deep in this neighborhood, respect them, and not mock them thats for sure. Piss off the wrong people and find out EXACTLY what your trying to avoid. Gentrification is cool until the homeboys run up on you and make you disappear gringo hipster.

  14. La Sad Eyez says:

    i heard there is a green light on the gringo who wrote this article…

  15. Dani says:

    This is the worst article I’ve ever read, let alone about my home town. What a huge lie, you know nothing about Highland Park! “You’re hispanic amigos..” You racist piece of crap! I’m white and you make me sick! Don’t live in a hispanic community if you have no clue about the culture, language & people. You have no amigos cuz you’re fake. Why are there gangs in Highland Park? Because of self serving wanna be hood rats like you. Who label hispanics and everyone else in life. Have some self respect and humanity. And shut up when you know nothing about a subject. Highland Park is nothing like you explained in this article. Good thing there’s karma for people like you. Think before you type!

  16. Erika says:

    This is just STUPID!!!!!! i like that HLP is evolving maybe the Hipsters can shape this place up. cuz its discusting looking at
    the crapy gang taging on the wall.. i pray and hope to God that Hipsters. over run this town.

  17. haha good shit…I remember when Highland Park was a war zone in the 90’s. You should have made one of these for Echo Park a few years ago.

  18. This is my town says:

    This article is nothing but a joke & should be stated somewhere in the title.
    First off, that picture with the GOH tagging is nothing but a crew & is just crossing out a kid named whiteboy but is not referring it to or at the white race.
    Those so called ‘steps’ you put up is ridiculous. If someone has baggy clothes doesn’t automatically make them a ‘gang banger’. Gang bangers will not ask you where you are from if you look like a ‘hipster’ because you don’t look like you would be from somewhere so you have nothing to worry about.
    Now for that last review you put up is plain stupid. You say you don’t want to stereotype us but you make this stupid article.
    Don’t make my town look bad with your racist articles/posts.

  19. Lamar Glover says:

    folks, don’t feed the trolls.

  20. NoHATE says:

    Who ever wrote this is a Bigot! and a Xenophobe!! Stop wasting all your parents money trying to gentrify our lovely community…

  21. jose says:

    If your scared go to church or just get out can’t take the heat get out the kitchen!!

  22. HM says:

    This is wrong and stupid. I have lived here all my life and I can read these “tags” you talk about. I know that gangs and I have never had issues with anyof them yet I was friendsnwith everyone. Guess what I am what you call a gringa. You are not only making hispanics look bad but white people as well. Everyone needs to be careful where ever they live and maybe more careful here but that doesn’t mean you need to be rude either.

  23. Oscar says:

    I love this blog! Finally, a worthy satirical piece that truly depicts the ignorance and pure ridiculousness of hipster culture. For a moment, I was going to get really upset and then I realized that this blog is probably exaggerating hipsterdom. Really had me on a good troll.

  24. Dang Da Wei says:

    I’m not sure if this is a troll blog or an offshoot of the Youth For Western Civilization or the rise of the Golden Dawn. Either or Liberals are still nothing more than another form of right wing pro-capitalist politics.

  25. I grew up in Highland Park back in the 80 – 90’s, before it was all hipster and “cool.” Actually grew up on Avenue 43. That particular Avenue has a gang named after it. My grandmother still lives there and I visit when I can, I love that neighborhood. I am a Caucasian I was one of very few in my elementary school, also on Ave. 43, Latona elementary. I am very proud of the fact that I grew up there, I learned a lot about respect living in a predominately Latino community. I was into punk rock and Gothic music, and wondered the neighborhood in all black, with my hair spiked to hell and my neon tights and doc martins. I rarely got harassed or had any problems, from the “gang-bangers”. And the couple of occasions when I got asked where I was from, I would just stop look them in the eye and say “really, look at me?” I had friends in gangs and friends that weren’t and as far as I know nobody had any issues. You just need to show people the proper respect. No one is any better than anyone else, regardless of how they are dressed or their tattoo’s or their back stories. I think the problem is that “gringo’s” don’t know how to treat people that aren’t like them with any respect.

  26. This article is stereotypical. The hipsters are the immigrants within this community and the hipsters should be the ones to assimilate. If it’s that bad Gringo, then why do you stay?

  27. Derp says:

    Go back to the midwest you dipshit

  28. Dare says:

    Highland Park Gringo,
    If you were trying to be funny with this post it just shows (in the very least) how disconnected you are with how widespread and harmful these attitudes actually are in your area and throughout LA. To stereotype people by how they dress, what race they are, how knowledgeable of their community they are and even tattoos is extremely racist, classist and severely dangerous to any in the community who may fit part of these broad descriptions you are making. These attitudes are informing policy all over LA to approve gang injunctions (legal racial profiling that allows cops to harass people in groups of 2 or 3 who fit the racial profile of the gang) which lead to excessive policing of neighborhoods and disproportionately affect original residents. These measures have not been shown to help at all, but rather increase violence in these neighborhoods as police tactics include picking people up and dropping them off in other neighborhoods and inciting territorial violence. Police shootings of people increase in these areas as it is seen as ‘justified’ if the person is so much labeled as a ‘gang member’ which is the LAPD’s choice. So if your purpose was to support the police state and aid in the colonization of an area, you’re doing a damn great job, racist asshole.
    I’m not originally from LA and it takes a lot of humbling experiences, learning from local people and deconstructing yourself constantly to build real friendships and join the beauty of communities in resistance to colonization of LA. And it should require all these things – because otherwise people are criminalized and displaced because of self-centered, non-socially conscious (in your own word choice) “Gringo Hipsters”. Moving in and thinking you know all the shit is a stupid egotistical colonizing point of view.

    • there are gang tatoos that is not a stereotype, in our humble ‘hood gang members have tattoos of “LA” because that stands for Las Avenidas, the gang present here. You seem angry at my remarks, are you also angry at the gangs that are killing the kids on our streets (avenue 51 for example)? Thank you for your remarks! Have a Great Day!

  29. mando medina says:

    actually its dangerous all around Highland Park you never know when the two gangs will see each other at, and when that happens keep away from the stray bullets

  30. I am really sorry I read this.
    Your words and your dismissive comments to everyone’s posts show how disconnected you are as a human being at this stage in your life. I am saddened that you live in my beloved Highland Park. If you want to co-exist with the inhabitants with respect, this is not the way.

  31. Tim says:

    A very poor attempt at satire and even worse attempt at writing.

  32. a mexican (probably a gang member) says:

    So you have the nerve to move into our neighborhood, refuse to integrate… and instead, criticise, generalize and judge from the sidelines? Take that bullshit back to berkeley or seattle or birmingham circa 1940…. wherever the hell your fake, racist ass is from.

  33. Joseph says:

    What the fuck makes you an expert? You probably just moved here from some cousin fucking state! Not only that you are what we call a panocha in Spanish that means pussy! You are probably one of those pussy ass hypocrites who tries and acts cool and pretend you listen to hip hop music

  34. R says:

    Lmao … This is an accurate description of a gang member as described per the penal code. I am man of Hispanic descent that grew up in Highland Park, and find this article amusing. HP gringo is very observant, have no doubt that a gang member would cause you harm.

    Gringo keep it up

  35. jessica says:

    Okay, i have lived in highland park my whole life and this was just plain dumb.

  36. EveM says:

    congratulations your an idiot and a racist! I’ve lived here my whole life, there is good and bad. But putting labels on people as you have here only shows your blatten ignorance for much more than this neighborhood but moreover the people in it. Yes we have gangs and yes its a problem but from a cultural perspective. Many members are born into it and it not being an option, that does not nor has it ever defined someone as bad. In short I really hope this isnt a serious editorial/blog posting.

    ps. for those of you reading this i hope you take statements as the blog above with a grain of assault.. our area is full of history and life. like every neighborhood its gone through many phases which now has quite the history and future

  37. mr fifty two says:

    Jaja to funny they forgot to mention not to be walking around with I pads I phones couse dem twekers will get u funy shit

  38. What about Montecito heights says:

    Has anyone ever noticed the Gentry Investments company on Figueroa and Ave 54? They’re grentrifing HP! Lol

  39. Got Tee? (turtle) says:

    Well better to wear clothes a little to big than way to small. And as for riding under sized bikes… well gringo..atleast they have seats.

  40. DurbanPoison says:

    Hahaha this is some funny ish…as an east coast weto who was transplanted to Highland Park (Ave 50 raise up!), I want to point out that you forgot to add: “If you hear what appears to be circus music coming down the street, its probably not the Ringling Brothers coming to town, nor is it the ice cream truck…but most likely a banger in the back of a wick wack low ridin’ Cadillac”…They play the stupidest, least tough sounding music known to man in their whips…$10,000 sound systems playing music that would be at home on the Ferris wheel at the carnival or the Tea Cups at Disney..

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