“We certainly have our challenges like many communities,” the mayor says. “It’s a different city from 25 years ago.”
With this week’s release of the N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown wants to remind people that the city has changed in the last 25 years.
Despite being the home of gangsta rap and being portrayed in the 1980’s-set movie as a city with high rates of gang violence, the Compton of 2015 is one with less violent crime, poverty and unemployment.
“People think of Compton as a very dangerous place,” Brown told the L.A. Times. “We certainly have our challenges like many communities, but when we look at the statistics and the feel of the city and we talk to people who live here, it’s a different city from 25 years ago.”
The city has been pushing a counter-marketing campaign to promote the positive changes made in recent years. A link in the movie’s closing credits points directs viewers to a website that talks about the city’s progress.
“Welcome to the Compton of today and the strides that are being made to return Compton to the beautiful, thriving suburban city it once was,” the website says.
Brown isn’t alone in her concerns about the potential effects of the movie. As TheWrap previously reported, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — which counts Compton in its jurisdiction — will be increasing patrols and security measures around the film’s release this weekend.
“Sheriff’s patrol stations have been working with theater management in their jurisdictions over the last few weeks to develop safety plans and discuss security measures,” Sheriff’s Department public information officer Nicole Nishida told TheWrap. “Deputies will be doing patrol checks during their shifts and the Department will be monitoring the release [of “Straight Outta Compton].”
The movie’s distributor Universal also pledged on Thursday to offer “support” to theaters screening the film who ask for extra security.