Gardena is a small city located north of Torrance, west of the 110 Harbor Freeway, east of Hawthorne and Alondra Park and south of Athens. The city is known for its long-time, large Japanese population, which is now at about 44% of the population, which is the highest concentration of Japanese Americans in California (the only higher concentration in the United States is in Honolulu).
This concentration is partly caused by and, alternatively, attracts the largest concentration of Japanese companies within the mainland United States. Some of the companies based in Gardena include Digital Manga, Nissin Foods, Marukai Corporation and Nissan. Toyota Motors used to be located for decades in Carson, just south of Gardena, but Toyota has since relocated to Tennessee. When Toyota was located in Carson, many of its employees came from Gardena.
Ramona’s Mexican Food Products and En Pointe Technologies also are based in Gardena, but they do not have a Japanese origin. The largest employer in Gardena is Memorial Hospital of Gardena with almost 750 employees.
The city is also home to two casinos (Hustler Casino and Normandie Casino) just off the 110 Freeway, which for our office are a source of numerous public intoxication and DUI cases. Such casinos are not a new thing to Gardena, as from 1936 to 1980, Gardena held a local monopoly on legal cardrooms, the taxes from which accounted for nearly a third of its annual budget.
A great deal of DUI’s and other drug-related offenses also originate out of the bars along Western Avenue near Rosecrans, particularly among younger people. The Gardena Police Department also is active in combatting DUI along Redondo Beach Boulevard, just north of the Gardena Police Station.
The city used to be home for many years to the raucous Ascot Park, a racetrack, but it is now closed.
The city itself is very small – only 5.8 square miles, mostly centered off Redondo Beach Boulevard and Western Avenue.
Some believe the city was named for its reputation as being the only “green spot” in the dry season between Los Angeles and the ocean. Even today, there is a 9.4-acre wetland preserve, the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve, in the southeast corner of the city (near the corner of Vermont and Artesia Avenues).
The city’s garden reputation was also based on the fact that it used to be home to many farms, many of which grew berries, earning the city the nickname of “Berryland” under the time of World War I when the wartime economy caused other crops to push aside berries. The city still has many small farms growing a variety of vegetables.
Democrat Maxine Waters represents Gardena in the United States House of Representatives.
The high schools in Gardena include Gardena High School and Serra High School. Serra High School has produced many star sprinters in track and field and many great football players who have continued their careers into college and the NFL, such as Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Adoree Jackson, an NFL player with the Tennessee Titans.
Gardena has its own police force with 93 sworn police officers, 24 full-time support staff and 33 part-time employees. The police department has its own jail.
Gardena is home to a surprising number of famous people. Enos Cabell, the well-known third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers for many years, grew up in Gardena and went to Gardena High School. Wayne Collett, Olympic silver medalist in the 400-meter dash in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, also grew up in Gardena and went to Gardena High School, as did Doc Ellis, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates for many years. Lisa Leslie, Olympic gold medalist and Los Angeles Sparks basketball player, was born in Gardena.
The City of Gardena used to have its own City Prosecutor handling misdemeanor cases in the Torrance Superior Court, but now such work is handled by the Torrance District Attorney.
For more information about common crimes we see from Gardena, please click on the following articles: