For years Pasadena has been able to keep its gang problem in check. Down from 30 homicides in the 80's to just 3 in 2002, the city is seeing a resurgence in the last year and a half. 18 deaths in 18 months.
In south Pasadena, home of CalTech and the Huntington Gardens, it's a city of immaculate lawns and the stink of big money. The homes are gorgeous craftsmen models, some going as far back as the early 1900's. Colorado Boulevard, the spur of Route 66 that runs through the city, has turned into a retail Mecca.
But in the north not so much. Poverty breeds crime, creates gangs, commits murder. There's a high black and Latino population with incomes far below that of their counterparts to the south. And almost a dozen gangs have moved into the area.
Police can only do so much. Responding to crime is like responding to symptoms. You might be able to do something about the tumors, but they'll come back if you don't take out the cancer.
Money and opportunity alone won't do it. Never has. The people themselves need to see a better way than crime to get what they want. And that's not just Pasadena's problem, but all of ours.