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.
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107 Responses to Gringo’s Guide To Highland Park Gangs

  1. t says:

    I hope you did not think this was funny. This was not funny at all. I really don’t even think hipsters themselves would appriciate this. As it is the utmost embarassing resolution for gentrification. And your right no stoping gentrification it is however funny that your paying 6times more than all the poor cholos, with pretty houses, I can’t wait to sell my house for a triple what we paid. 300,000 dollars shy from a million dollar home, come-up.

  2. you are a racist prick says:

    Who the fuck do you think are you ass hole? All you hipster mother fuckers should just leave and crawl back into your nearest Starbucks and drink your Chai tea little bitches.

  3. dougieboy8 says:

    Highland Park Gringo, you have no idea how good you have it. Back in the day there’s no way you could even live in a neighborhood like HP. Most of those guys your describing are OG’s who are either 2nd strikers, Born again’, or in NA trying to get their life straight. Of course, there will always be a few knuckleheads that’ll never learn but it’s so chill now. I don’t think your a racist, or wrong about how brutal gang bangers are (or were) but those of us who lived through the real shit just find your article a bit condescending to a culture you don’t seem to understand very well.

  4. Fuckkyou says:


  5. Nicky Cordero says:

    This is the worst piece of shit article I have ever read! Highland Park is filled with culture, family, and history that these ” hipsters” haven’t a clue how to appreciate….this gang bs is seriously wrong 👎 and one of the worst RACIST articles I’ve ever read! 4x too big , La gear …thats Chicano CULTURE you fking idiotic prick, “Dog” that’s La lingo that I’ve heard PLENTY of white boys use! I can’t believe someone employs the writer of this piece of shit article…smh

  6. This article better be a joke. It’s divisive, encouraging “hipsters” to avoid a group of people out of survival fear. How about this: chances are you won’t run into a gangbanger because you don’t live in direct contact where they live; if you see someone you “suspect” and are in the position to give a neighborly hello, do so, because that’s the right thing to do. That is all the info you need to know, “hipsters.”

    By the same account we HPLers have to be neighborly to our new wave of residents and get to know them. Some of the protest and hate projected at “hipsters” and their business is wrong.

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