As you explore the vibrant city of Los Angeles, California, known for its famous residents, stunning weather, and picturesque beaches and mountains, it’s essential to keep in mind that not everything is as glamorous as it appears. Although the city offers many attractions, there are also neighborhoods where caution should be exercised due to high crime rates and significant vagrancy issues.
In this article, we will unveil the top ten most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, highlighting their unique challenges and specific areas of concern. By arming yourself with knowledge and understanding, you’ll be able to navigate the city with greater confidence and awareness, ensuring a more enjoyable and safe experience.
10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Los Angeles (2023)
- Downtown LA – Experiencing high violent crime rates
- West Adams – Notorious for gang and drug-related violence
- Wholesale District/Skid Row – Home to addiction crisis and homeless encampments
- Hollywood – Despite its iconic status, crime rate is 109% more dangerous than national average
- South Los Angeles – Struggles with various types of crime
- Compton – Known for elevated violent crime, but improving
- Watts – Faces high levels of violence and property crimes
- North Hollywood – Encounters crime related to gang activities
- Koreatown – Plagued by property crime and occasional violence
- Fashion District – Crime rates exceed national average, affecting the area’s safety
1. Downtown LA
Downtown LA, commonly referred to as DTLA, serves as the economic heart of the city. Despite being a financial center, it has a reputation for crime and illegal activities. The violent crime rate in DTLA is alarmingly high, making it 12 times more dangerous than the national average. In fact, when property crimes are combined, the overall crime rate is 530% higher than the national average.
In 2022, the LAPD reported 1,702 violent offenses in the area. Furthermore, DTLA witnessed a historical high murder rate of 490 in 2018. As a result, it is advised to avoid walking alone or in groups at night. Homelessness is a significant issue, and pickpocketing and robberies are frequent occurrences. While daytime sees lesser crimes, exercising caution is still recommended.
The worst affected areas are south of 3rd Street, north of 7th Street, west of Alameda Street, and east of Main Street. To stay safe, it’s best not to carry large amounts of cash while exploring Downtown LA.
2. West Adams
West Adams, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, faces a significant crime problem. With a population of 11,961, the crime rate reaches 6,811 per 100,000 people, and residents face a 1 in 15 chance of falling victim to crime. West Adams experiences a high prevalence of violent crime, often linked to gang and drug activities.
A strong police presence exists in the area, but with numerous criminal incidents occurring, they cannot address every case. In this context, crimes such as robbery, assault, and theft are frequent occurrences. Consequently, it is strongly advised that you avoid walking in the neighborhood at night. Safety concerns are common, even during daytime walks and while using public transportation within the area.
3. Wholesale District/Skid Row
The Wholesale District, often referred to as Skid Row, stands out as a particularly hazardous area in Los Angeles. Home to one of the largest homeless populations in the United States, it houses between 9,000 and 15,000 individuals experiencing homelessness. This overwhelming presence of homelessness contributes to the area’s concerning safety issues.
Over the past decade, crime in the Wholesale District escalated by 59%. In one year alone, 13,122 crimes were reported, including 2,698 assaults, 1,350 vehicle break-ins, and 2,453 theft incidents. A flourishing drug trade within the homeless community often leads to criminal activities like pickpocketing and theft. Notorious streets such as San Pedro Street are known to be particularly dangerous.
Due to restrictions on cycling and walking after 6 PM, Skid Row transforms into a breeding ground for gang and drug-related activities, further exacerbating the neighborhood’s notoriety as a dangerous area in Los Angeles.
Despite its global fame as the heart of the movie industry, Hollywood sadly ranks among the worst neighborhoods in LA for crime. Boasting a population of 90,322, it has a crime rate of 4,894 per 100,000 people, soaring to 109% above the national average. As a top tourist hotspot, Hollywood attracts numerous incidents of property theft and pickpocketing. Safeguard your belongings and avoid falling victim to these issues. While daytime strolls should be relatively problem-free, it’s wise to steer clear of walking around the area at night.
5. South Los Angeles
With a population of 249,670, South Los Angeles has a crime rate of 4,268 per 100,000 people, making it one of LA’s more dangerous areas. Issues like drug trafficking and gun violence, often connected to gang activity, plague neighborhoods like Hyde Park and South Park. However, an increased police presence has led to a gradual decrease in crime since the 1990s.
While the level of gang activity varies by neighborhood, it’s essential for residents to remain cautious when walking at night. During the day, walking is safer, and using public transit is generally considered secure.
Read More: Cheapest Places to Live in California
Compton, a neighborhood in Los Angeles, has struggled with crime historically. Though the 1990s saw a peak in violence, there has been a decline since then. Yet, even with the improvements, Compton’s crime rate remains 51% higher than the national average, making it a dangerous area.
Notorious for gun violence, drug activities, poverty, and violent crime, Compton experienced its highest murder rate in 2005. Despite progress, recent years have seen a rise in violent and property crimes.
With a population of 97,740, Compton continues to face challenges in crime reduction. Although there is a considerable police presence, residents feel that law enforcement’s capacity to respond effectively to incidents remains insufficient.
Watts stands out as one of Los Angeles’ most dangerous neighborhoods, with a crime rate 50% higher than the national average. There are 3,514 crimes per 100,000 people in this area, meaning your odds of becoming a crime victim here are 1 in 29. Despite Watts experiencing a decrease in violent crime since the 1990s, it still remains perilous.
In 2022, Watts saw 1,574 violent crime incidents and 1,943 property crime incidents. To minimize risk, avoid walking alone at night, using public transportation, or carrying substantial cash and valuables in this neighborhood.
In Koreatown, a neighborhood with a population of 72,523, the crime rate is 2,978 per 100,000 people, making it 32% more dangerous than the national average. Gang and drug activity are prevalent here, leading to related crimes like prostitution. The Southern and Eastern parts of Koreatown are known as the most hazardous areas.
Additionally, be cautious regarding robberies, assaults, and pickpocketing, which frequently occur on public transit. Keep your belongings secure and accounted for at all times. To stay safe, avoid walking around at night and steer clear from regions such as Hancock Park and Wilshire Center.
9. Fashion District
In the Fashion District, with its population of 2,466, the crime rate is 28% above the national average at 2,870 per 100,000 people. This means you have a 1 in 35 chance of becoming a victim. However, you can safely walk or use public transport during daytime, as long as you take necessary precautions.
10. North Hollywood
In North Hollywood, home to 64,587 people, you’ll find a crime rate of 2,592 per 100,000 residents, marking a 10% increase over the national average. This neighborhood, also known as NoHo, is near Universal Studio. The primary criminal activities here are gang-related and drug-related incidents.
The majority of crimes in North Hollywood are property crimes, accounting for 82% of all incidents reported in 2022. Additionally, you might encounter burglary, robbery, and assault. Despite these crime rates, areas surrounding Magnolia, Lankershim, and the 170 highway are generally safe during daytime hours, and using public transportation should not pose significant problems.
In some Los Angeles neighborhoods, you may encounter higher crime rates, even though they remain popular tourist destinations. Areas like Hollywood and Koreatown offer more affordable living, but safety can be a concern due to property crimes and homelessness.
It’s important to be cautious when walking at night, safeguard your personal belongings, and be aware of potential issues like pickpocketing, drug activity, gang violence, and auto theft. Despite the Los Angeles Police Department’s presence, it’s crucial to stay vigilant for your safety.
Read More: Safest Cities in California
Frequently Asked Questions
What neighborhoods in Los Angeles experience the highest crime rates?
In Los Angeles, some neighborhoods with high crime rates include Compton, Hyde Park, Central City East, and South Los Angeles. These areas often suffer from problems such as gun violence, drug activity, and other forms of violent crime.
Where should one exercise caution in LA due to safety concerns?
Areas to be cautious when visiting LA include those neighborhoods mentioned above, as well as Hollywood. These areas have higher rates of carjackings, robberies, and violent crimes. It’s always wise to remain vigilant in any urban setting, especially in places known for higher crime rates.
Which regions of Los Angeles are infamous for criminal activity?
Compton, South Los Angeles, and several areas just east of Inglewood have particularly bad reputations for crime. These neighborhoods face issues such as gun violence, drug activity, and higher poverty rates.
How can I find a map displaying crime incidents in Los Angeles?
How does Los Angeles’ crime situation compare with other major U.S. cities?
Los Angeles is a large and diverse city, and like any major metropolis, it has both safe and dangerous areas. Although crime rates have fallen since the 1990s, LA still experiences higher crime rates compared to the national average. However, other cities such as Chicago and Baltimore may have higher crime rates overall.
Are there any neighborhoods in LA known for lower crime rates and increased safety?
Yes, there are safer neighborhoods in Los Angeles with lower crime rates. Some of these areas include West Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades, and Brentwood. Always do your research before visiting or moving to a new neighborhood to ensure personal safety and peace of mind.