Survey finds Angelenos optimistic, 20 years after LA riots

National Guardsmen patrols trough a dest

Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images

National Guardsmen patrols trough a destroyed area, 01 May 1992 in central Los Angeles. This month is the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, when looting and arson events erupted 29 April 1992.

Two decades after the Los Angeles riots, Angelenos are more tolerant, and more optimistic about their city. That’s according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

Among the questions the poll asked was: “Do you think it’s likely or unlikely that other riots and disturbances like those in 1992 will occur in the city of Los Angeles in the next five years?”

Of those polled, 41 percent said its very or somewhat likely. That number has decreased every five years, from a high of 61 percent in 1997.

“That’s progress, given the history of Los Angeles," political scientist Fernando Guerra said. "Given the segregation, given the community-police relations, given the poverty that exists - that's significant improvement."

There were 1,600 respondents to the poll — 400 Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Whites. Asians were by far the least pessimistic about more riots — just 26 percent said they were very or somewhat likely – a notable figure, given many Korean American businesses burned in 1992.

The survey also quizzed residents about race relations. Seventy percent said there’s been some or a lot of progress since the riots. Among African Americans, only 57 percent said there’s been progress.

“I think its historical legacies," Guerra said. "When you take a look at when there are racial problems, how often times its African Americans who are victimized.”

Another poll question: "Overall, do you feel things in the city of Los Angeles are going in the right direction or the wrong direction?” Just 32 percent said the right direction – down from 51 percent in 2007. Guerra said the bad economy may be to blame.

Among ethnic and racial groups, Latinos were a little more optimistic. Guerra said overall, Latinos and Asians like their prospects in LA more than Whites and Blacks.

“Latino and Asians because they tend to be immigrant or children of immigrants or live in immigrant households," Guerra said. "They tend to look at the opportunities that they have in Los Angeles and they still think that it is possible to do many things.”

The poll was conducted in February. Its margin of error is 3 percent.

Read the full survey results here:

CSLA Riots Report - 20 Years Later

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