Opulence Duels With Poverty on LA's Skid Row

But amid crackdown on crime, still a daily struggle for survival
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2007 12:54 PM CST
A woman waits with others outside a Skid Row mission.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – While upscale lofts and hotels sprout up near crack houses and homeless shelters, Los Angeles' Skid Row has outstripped most other cities in all the races you don't want to win. LA County has a homeless population of 88,345—roughly twice as much as New York—and the 50 square blocks of Skid Row are the socioeconomic earthquake's epicenter, Good Magazine reports.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith called it "a 24/7 Mardi Gras on crack…the country’s largest drug supermarket.” Since 2006, Smith has overseen an interdepartmental crackdown, resulting in significant drops in crime and homelessness. But the neighborhood has a long way to go: “It’s scary...There’s drugs and killing...I don’t go out alone," says one 12-year old.