Nearly 6 out of 10 Los Angeles Residents Think Another Riot Could Happen


April 29th, 1992 means a lot of things to Los Angeles residents (more than just a Sublime song). Names like Latasha Harlins, and images of Rodney King paired with video of burning buildings are scars that will always remain with Los Angeles residents.

25 years later, have things gotten better? 

That's what Loyola Marymont University set to learn. The university has been surveying Los Angeles residents every five years since the 1992 riots asking them about their views on a variety of factors including race relations, trust in institutions and the possibility of civil unrest. 

The latest edition does not hold good news for race relations in the city - nearly 6 in 10 believe that the city is on the brink of another riot. That's an increase for the first time in the two decades of surveys. 

The survey's results show public opinion about the possibility of civil unrest is higher than any other year except for 1997, the first year the survey was conducted. It's more than a 10-point jump since the 2012 survey. 

Theories abound about why there's been an increase in the statistic, but some people say it could be the result of several years of headlines about bad policing, Black Lives Matter protests over police shootings of black Americans and inflamed racial tensions. 

However, there is one bright spot in the survey for local law enforcement - Angelenos now trust the LAPD more than any other local institution. 

 “While the LAPD has had its share of serious issues, the one constant over the last two decades has been efforts by its leadership to mend fences and build relationships with the people of Los Angeles, especially minority communities,” said Fernando Guerra,professor of political science and Chicana/o Studies and director of the center. “Our survey shows the effort has not been wasted,but that more work must still be done.”

The Loyola Marymount University has been conducting surveys of Los Angeles residents every five years since the 1992 riots. The surveys began after people asked themselves how the riots would affect future quality of life. The surveys are conducted on the 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 year anniversaries of the LA Riots. A total of 5,455 Angelenos have been surveyed since 1997.