It was crazy in so calif during the 80's. I grew up in lakewood, which is about 15 miles from Compton. There were drive by shootings pretty much every night back then. When the movie colors with Sean Penn came out it was at its peak. I can still remember my parents not letting my older sister go see that flick for fear there would be a drive by. I was too young back then so not an issue for me.
I'm not sure crime is really down though for ordinary people. Sure the gangbangers dont seem to drive by attack as much as they used to, but when it comes to robberies and other property crimes I'm not convinced.
Also many crimes now commited by, and against illegals immigrants who many times don't report said attack for fear of deportation.