Los Angeles is renowned for its notable inhabitants, pleasant climate, beautiful beaches, and scenic mountains. However, beneath its glamorous facade, the city of angels also has its share of less desirable aspects.
Several neighborhoods have gained notoriety for high levels of violent crime, property crime, and homelessness. In this compilation, we will explore 7 of the most unsafe areas in Los Angeles.
7 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Los Angeles
- Downtown LA
- West Adams
- Wholesale District/Skid Row
- North Hollywood
- South Los Angeles
1. Downtown LA
Downtown Los Angeles, often referred to as DTLA, is considered the most dangerous neighborhood in the city. While it serves as the economic center of LA, it is also notorious for its high crime rates and illicit activities.
According to the FBI’s crime statistics from 2021, Downtown LA has an exceptionally high rate of violent crime, making it 12 times more dangerous than the national average.
When property crimes are taken into account, the overall crime rate in Downtown Los Angeles is 530% higher than the national average. In 2022, the LAPD recorded a total of 1,702 violent offenses, and in 2018, the murder rate in the area reached an all-time high of 490.
It is strongly advised to avoid walking alone or even in groups during nighttime in this neighborhood. Homelessness continues to be a significant issue in Downtown LA, and incidents of pickpocketing and robberies are common.
Although crime is relatively lower during daylight hours, it is still important to exercise caution. The most dangerous areas are situated south of 3rd Street, north of 7th Street, west of Alameda Street, and east of Main Street. It is highly discouraged to carry large amounts of cash in this area.
2. West Adams
West Adams is one of the most dangerous areas in Los Angeles in terms of crime. It has a population of 11,961 and a crime rate of 6,811 per 100,000 people, meaning that residents face a 1 in 15 chance of becoming victims of crime.
The majority of the crime in West Adams is related to gangs and drug activities, resulting in a high rate of violent incidents. Although there is a noticeable police presence in the neighborhood, residents often express concerns about the police’s ability to respond promptly to the numerous criminal incidents occurring simultaneously.
In addition to gun violence, crimes such as robbery, assault, and theft are prevalent in the area. Consequently, it is strongly advised against walking alone at night. Many residents complain about the overall lack of safety, even when utilizing public transportation in this neighborhood.
3. Wholesale District/Skid Row
The Wholesale District, commonly referred to as Skid Row, is one of the largest homeless encampments in the United States. The estimated number of permanent homeless individuals in Skid Row ranges from 9,000 to 15,000. The overwhelming magnitude of homelessness in the area often leaves commuters and residents feeling burdened.
Since 2010, crime rates in the Wholesale District have seen a significant increase of 59%. In 2013 alone, there were 13,122 reported crimes, including 2,698 assaults, 1,350 vehicle break-ins, and 2,453 incidents of theft.
A considerable portion of these crimes can be attributed to the prevalent drug trade within the homeless population, while offenses such as pickpocketing and theft are also common.
Certain areas, like San Pedro Street, are particularly notorious for their high crime rates. As the curfew for cycling or walking in Skid Row is enforced until 6 PM, the area becomes a focal point for gang activities and drug-related incidents.
Despite a decrease in crime rates since the 1990s, Compton still carries a reputation for gun violence, drug activity, poverty, and violent crime. The neighborhood, with a population of 97,740, has a crime rate of 3,533 per 100,000 people, making it 51% more dangerous than the national average.
In 2005, Compton ranked highest in the nation for its murder rate, but there has been a decline over the past two decades. However, starting from 2020, there has been a rise in both violent and property crimes in Compton. Despite a significant police presence, residents feel that the police lack the capability to effectively respond to incidents.
5. North Hollywood
North Hollywood, also known as NoHo, is home to a population of 64,587. The neighborhood has a crime rate of 2,592 per 100,000 people, which is 10% higher than the national average. Gang and drug activity are the primary sources of criminal incidents in this area.
Property crimes make up the majority of offenses in North Hollywood, comprising 82% of the total crimes reported in 2022. These include burglary, robbery, and assault. However, certain locations like Magnolia, Lankershim, and the 170 highway are relatively safe during daylight hours. Additionally, using public transportation is generally trouble-free.
6. South Los Angeles
South Los Angeles, previously known as South Central, has a population of 249,670. It is considered one of the most dangerous areas in LA, with a crime rate of 4,268 per 100,000 people.
The area is heavily impacted by drug trafficking and gun violence, which are closely associated with gang activity. However, the presence of law enforcement has increased over the years, leading to a gradual decline in crime since the 1990s.
The extent of gang activity varies across different neighborhoods, and residents are advised to take precautions when walking at night. Walking during the day is relatively safer, and public transit is generally considered a safe mode of transportation.
Hollywood, known as the hub for numerous prominent movie production companies, holds a significant place in American culture. With a population of 90,322, Hollywood experiences a crime rate of 4,894 per 100,000 individuals, which is 109% higher than the national average.
While Hollywood remains a popular tourist destination, incidents of property theft and pickpocketing are quite prevalent. It is generally safe to walk around during the day as long as personal belongings are properly secured. However, it is not recommended to walk alone at night.
Los Angeles is an extensive city composed of numerous diverse neighborhoods. Despite some of these neighborhoods having elevated crime rates, they remain appealing tourist destinations. Certain areas, such as Hollywood and Koreatown, offer more affordable housing compared to other parts of the city.
However, it’s important to note that while the rent might be lower in these neighborhoods, they may not be ideal choices for those prioritizing safety due to ongoing challenges related to property crime and homelessness.