When it comes to Compton, it is hard not to immediately associate the city with the popular hip hop film, “Straight Outta Compton.” As the movie suggests, the city has a complicated past. However, its rich history and ideal location have made it a destination city for many. Its working-class community is one of the most ethnically diverse in the country, making it a great example of a city where people of all kinds work, live, and gather together.
The area is centrally located, just south of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area downtown. In fact, it is technically known as the “Hub City.” However, instead of a history of commerce and wealth, Compton’s struggles with past gang activity and the subsequent violence have gotten in the way of its growth. It has come a long way, though, since these early days. In 2000, the city was struggling so much with its violence that the Compton police force was actually disbanded because it was only furthering citywide violence. Two decades past this, however, reveals a city ready for growth and to be a part of the busy hub of Los Angeles.
How Compton Is Overcoming Its Past
There were a number of initiatives that have been taken to reduce the violence that the city has been known for. One of the most famous is the “Gifts for Guns” program, which is attempting to combat increased murder rates from 1999 to 2024. The program asks citizens to turn in their guns in exchange for $50-$100 checks for various goods. According to the LASD, the program has turned over about 7,000 guns and has been a hallmark program for cities nationwide combatting gun violence.
While Compton has not fully removed itself from its own history of violence, the popularity of its music scene has led to considerable new interest in the area. Many of the West Coast’s most famous rappers are or were former Compton residents, with the city boasting a Mount Rushmore of R&B and rap legends like Dr. Dre, Coolio, N.W.A., Kendrick Lamar, and many other popular musical artists.
This resurgence of interest, plus the city’s vote to place Compton under the Los Angeles police department, has led to improved citywide safety. Compton still is not necessarily a traditional tourist destination, but its rich music history is a draw for many. For example, you can take one of the city’s “Hood Rap” tours. During these city walks, you can learn about the struggles and victories of your favorite rap artists and their childhood homes. The city is very close to both Hollywood and Disneyland, and it boasts an aeronautical museum that is popular locally as a place to instill interest in pilot careers for younger museum goers.
Compton is also known for a number of other popular celebrities, being the birthplace of countless star athletes such as Serena and Venus Williams, as well as a number of Hollywood favorites like Anthony Anderson, Kevin Costner, and even Ava DuVernay.
Things to Do in Compton
Unfortunately, there is not a lot to do in Compton in terms of activities, shopping, or even restaurants to check out. However, because Compton is in such a centralized location in Los Angeles, the major perk is that you can be within a 30-minute drive of many of Los Angeles’ best activities, such as:
- The Disney and Universal Theme Parks are both within just 30 miles of Compton and are perfect for families and thrill lovers alike.
- Venice Beach is just a 25-mile drive from Compton and offers an exciting and diverse array of individuals, shops, and places to get food.
- Staples Arena is just a 23-mile drive from Compton and perfect for major shows and, of course, catching a Lakers or Clippers game.
- The L.A. Hood Life Tour is one of Compton’s major tourist attractions and will take guests around Compton to follow the fascinating history of rap’s impact on the city, as well as explore the background and lives of your favorite rap artists.
Q: What Is the Population of Compton Like?
A: Overall, Compton is made up of a working class and ethnically diverse group of people. Compton’s population is a little less than 94,000 people, with population percentages at 56% Latino, 26% White, and 17% Black. The average age in population ranges between 25 and 40 years old. The city is also one of the bluest cities politically in the country, with Democrats receiving no less than 90% of the vote from 1976 to 2016.
Q: Is Compton Safe to Visit?
A: Compton is becoming a destination and a safe place for visitors. While gang violence is still a citywide issue, many individuals from Compton have taken it upon themselves to provide for their city in a number of innovative and supportive ways.
Q: How Has Compton Changed?
A: One of the city’s biggest initiatives revolves around outreach programs for Compton youth, from after school programs, to organized athletics leagues. The city’s educational emphasis on the FOCUS program has also been successful in helping to promote math and science in teaching curriculums.
Q: What Is Life Like In Compton?
A: Despite being a food desert, Compton locals have attempted to combat poor nutritional options by taking on the problems themselves. They have established a “micro-farm” trend, where locals will plant nutritious vegetables and fruits in front of their yards, and they share the produce with the community — just another way the city’s residents are trying to improve Compton and look out for each other.
Q: What Is Compton’s Climate Like?
A: Averaging about 32 inches of rain per year, Compton is typically warm in the summer with a cool but bearable winter, both offering plenty of sunshine. Because it is on the Southern end of LA, it’s further from the mountains and will have less drastic seasonal change than some areas around Southern California.
Compton Legal Help
At McLachlan Law, APC, we know this information about the city because we’re a part of the community. Our offices have built a reputation across Southern California, and we’re here to protect the residents of Compton. A new place to live can be nerve-racking, but we’re here to settle those nerves in the event something happens. If you are in the Compton area and find yourself facing a DUI, personal injury, or another legal matter, contact our office today to find out how we can help.