Saturday, April 29 marks the anniversary of the 1992 LA Riots, following the acquittal of four police officers for the beating of Rodney King.
Since the riots 25 years ago, the area around USC has changed in part because of more inclusive University programs.
Judy Muller, professor of journalism at USC, who was also an ABC News correspondent during the riots, said that it was a frightening time in LA.
"It was dodge city at it's worst," Muller said. "It was scary."
Muller blamed the media, in part, for playing the Rodney King beating video tape without any context. It caught people by surprise and led to the riots.
"The public wasn't ready for what they heard and that has to do a lot with the media repeatedly showing that videotape without any kind of framing of it," Muller said.
Estela Cerne was working at a barber shop on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Union Street when the riots broke out. She was 23 at the time.
"It was like a war zone. There were explosives, fires, a lot of police, a lot of soldiers in the army," Cerne said. "They were there, so it really made me scared because we had never seen anything like this."
DPS Chief John Thomas was serving on the police force during the time of the riots, in the undercover narcotics department. He was called in to help enforce the law during that time. Thomas also grew up in South LA.
"It very strange seeing a total breakdown of the law where no one was respecting any of the laws" he said.
25 years later, LA has changed for the better and diversity has improved, Muller said. The community has also become more integrated with help from USC.
"We have more community programs at USC," Muller said. "The community outreach here is quite good and the University does a lot of programs with the neighborhoods."
"Looking at today it is a totally different community," Thomas said. "It's more safe."
Cerne, now employed at the Trojan's Barber Shop, said that she also feels safer.
"The whole area is now really nice. Really calm," Cerne said. "It's changed a lot."
Reach staff reporter Hawken Miller here.
Correction: This story previously stated that the anniversary of the 1992 LA Riots was on Tuesday. The story was updated on April 27 at 3:32 p.m. to show the correct date of Saturday, April 29.
Correction: This story previously misspelled Estela Cerne's name. The story was updated on April 27 at 12:13 p.m.