Life in the 'Hood

After the riots, Crips and Bloods are keeping a fragile peace, but membership is high despite a federal campaign to break the gangs' hold on the slums

"It feels like heaven," says Michael Broadnax, 26, of South Central Los Angeles. A former member of the Bloods, Broadnax did not dare venture into neighborhoods dominated by Crips until factions of the rival gangs forged their remarkable truce in the heat of last month's riots. "I can go to places I've never been or even ridden through before," he says. "It's like freedom." Those words are echoed over and over in South Central these days, as residents marvel at the pact that has brought relative peace to an area more accustomed to gunfire and bloodshed than to handshakes.

Despite claims...

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