Jorja Leap has spent time in crisis zones from Bosnia to New Orleans. As an international expert in crisis intervention, she never expected to end up doing most of her work in her own backyard.
Ten years ago, Leap returned to her hometown of Los Angeles to work with some of the toughest gangs around. A UCLA alumna with a Ph.D. in psychological anthropology, Leap works with outreach and intervention programs spanning Los Angeles' most gang-saturated territories.
She chronicles her time working with former and current gang members in a new book called Jumped In: What Gangs Taught Me About Violence, Drugs, Love, and Redemption.
"This is a time, in 2002, when the gang situation in Los Angeles was explosive," Leap tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "There were periods when there were four or five gang-related homicides over a long weekend."