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Dark days revisited—Grim Sleeper case brings back bad memories of South L.A. in the ‘80’s

With the capture of the
With the capture of the "Grim Sleeper", reporters take a look back to the 80's when unemployment was high, morale was low, and serial killers were afoot.
Al Seib/AFP/Getty Images

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The arrest of the Grim Sleeper, the serial killer who prayed on prostitutes in South L.A. for most of the 1980’s, brought back bad memories for a part of L.A. that had been plagued with drug-fueled lawlessness in the darkest days of the 80’s. Plagued by the crack cocaine epidemic, witness to the rise of powerful streets gangs and mired in joblessness, South L.A. in the 1980’s was a bad place to live—on top of all of that it is also thought that there were at least five serial killers working the South L.A. streets for most of that decade. We take a look back at a dark chapter of Los Angeles history and see if things have changed since the Grim Sleeper committed his first murder to when he was arrested last month.


Andrew Blankstein, reporter for the Los Angeles Times