Harbor City is a very small city sandwiched between San Pedro and Wilmington to the south, Harbor Gateway to the north, Carson to the east and Lomita/Torrance to the west. Many people do not consider Harbor City as really a city, but more of a general area, because there is no city hall or downtown area known as downtown Harbor City.
Harbor City is home to many young families, often immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala working hard to make ends meet. Many are on work visas or simply illegally here in the United States, trying to find a better life for their family. Often, an extended family of seven or eight folks will cram themselves into a one or two bedroom apartment.
Its boundaries are Sepulveda Boulevard to the north, Normandie Avenue and the Harbor Freeway to the east, Anaheim and Palos Verdes Drive North to the south and Western Avenue to the west. The south-east corner of the city is Lake Machado in Ken Malloy Harbor Regional Park, just west of Harbor College. Lake Machado was famous some years ago for being the home of Reggie, an elusive six or seven-foot alligator that was eventually caught, but evaded highly publicized trapping attempts for months.
Latinos make up 48% of the population, with whites next at 25%, Asians at 14% and blacks at 11%. Mexico and Korea are the most common areas of birth for 36% of the population who were born abroad. More than half of the living arrangements in Harbor City are rental properties, either apartments, condominiums or small homes. Some of the streets are very narrow, with only limited parking along the curbs, while other streets, notably those going north and south, are extremely wide, as if paved and set out in the 1920’s.
One of the biggest businesses in Harbor City is the Kaiser Hospital, located off Pacific Coast Highway between Narbonne and Vermont Avenue.
There is one high school in Harbor City: Narbonne High School, which often produces a good football team.
There is a higher than normal rate of crime in Harbor City than in neighboring Torrance and San Pedro. It is common to read the crime reports in the Daily Breeze, listing numerous residential burglaries, vandalism reports, aggravated assaults, thefts, grand theft autos and even sex crimes.
The Harbor City Boys (HCB), also known as the Harbor City Rifas (HCF), is a Mexican-American gang that boasts Harbor City as its turf. The gang originated in the Harbor City housing projects in the 1980’s and was friendly with the Harbor City Crips, an African-American street gang, which often fought with Latino gangs from San Pedro (i.e. Rancho San Pedro gang), Wilmington (including the largest gangs around, the West Side Wilmas and East Side Wilmas) and Torrance (mainly East Side Torrance 13, a small Latino gang).
Our office represents residents of Harbor City quite a bit on a variety of charges, but usually not in gang-related offenses such as drug sales, car-jacking, robbery, vandalism and other violent crimes. We find that many of the defendants in such cases usually are represented by the public defender’s office, or alternate public defender.
Instead, DUI is at the top of the list of cases we defend, as in most cities, so this is not a crime unique to Harbor City. Often the arrest for DUI takes place in Harbor City, although the person did not drink in Harbor City and is merely returning home from a bar in Long Beach, Wilmington, Redondo Beach or even Hollywood. We do see a fair amount of domestic violence cases as well. Third, we occasionally see prostitution stings along Pacific Coast Highway near President Avenue. We also occasionally see cases involving illegal possession of a controlled substance. The area is patrolled by the Los Angeles Police Department and cases are filed mainly in the Long Beach Courthouse, not Torrance.
For more information about common criminal cases we defend that originate in Harbor City, please click on the following articles:
- What Is Possession of a Controlled Substance & the Defenses?
- What Punishment Do I Face for Domestic Violence?
- What Punishment Do I Face for First-Time DUI?