It's no secret that H'wood uses street gangs when shooting movies in inter-city locations. Tech production advisers work with gangs to smooth out the 'rough issues' (which can get very dicey).
It's very careful work in dealing with gang leaders in using their turf and fellow gang members as movie extras. The production advisers negotiate the where film crews will be and when the film shooting with take place. But even then, movie cars disappear, props are stolen, and money is paid out for safety. The film crews must be seen as guests and not neighborhood occupiers, and the gang members must be empowered in the process. For the most part, if treated correctly, street gangs will cooperate and lend real cred to the movie.
Normally, a community leader is hired as neighborhood liaison. That person will help ease the path and aid in selecting the people who will, in turn, be hired as background cast and perhaps even a small part in the film.
So, when viewing your next film where street gangs are involved remember - 'Real life is just on the edges and it's not all that good'.
Entertainment Equipment Corp.